Annihilation is exactly the kind of intellectual science-fiction/horror film I love. By turns poignant, beautiful, mesmerizing, terrifying, wondrous (sometimes simultaneously), Alex Garland's follow up to Ex Machina is a tremendous achievement.
WARNING! - SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT
In 2015, longtime novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, Sunshine, 28 Days Later, Dredd) made his (official) directing debut with Ex Machina, a coldly intimate story about an inventor who contrives to put one of his creations to the Turing Test.
Ex Machina (which I liked quite a lot) was like a filmed stage play, due to the low budget and intellectual bent of the material. At the same time, Garland seemed constrained on both an emotional and imaginative level, and so the end result was tense and heady, but frankly a bit sterile.
Intellectual and sterile (to varying degrees) are characteristics of Garland's previous works, and Annihilation is no different. However, in this case, I think the larger canvas of the story and budget has loosened Garland on a visual and emotional level.
I loved Annihilation. Which makes the behind-the-scenes drama between producers Scott Rudin & David Ellison, as well as Paramount's handling of the film's theatrical release all the more tragic.
More below the jump...