No matter how many science fiction movies you’ve seen, I guarantee you’ve not seen anything like Alex Garland’s Annihilation before. I mean, maybe you can argue it looks like a prettier Predator, but that’s selling the upcoming movie short. Not since 2015’s Ex Machina has a sci-fi film looked so distinct from everything else.
On Friday, Paramount released a new in-depth featurette of Alex Garland’s Annihilation, based on the 2014 novel by Jeff VanderMeer, which serves as the first in the Southern Reach trilogy. In the video, Natalie Portman and co-stars Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight), Tessa Thompson (Thor: Ragnarok), Gina Rodriguez (Jane the Virgin), and Tuva Novotny discuss the film’s story about an expedition party that investigates “the Shimmer,” a natural, mysterious force surrounding a region that is capable of “devouring cities.”
As the party discovers, mutations happen in the region, which may have been the cause for why all previous expedition parties have gone missing, dead, or in the case of Portman’s in-universe husband played by Oscar Isaac, scarred and traumatized. Predator this is not. There’s really something weird going on.
Annihilation looks like an early contender for the must-see sci-fi movie of 2018 — and that’s with Marvel’s Black Panther hitting the same month. Speaking purely on visuals, packed with bizarre ghost deer and a group of all women not led by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura carrying machine guns, Annihilation looks like it’ll be as unique a sci-fi picture as Garland’s last movie, the minimalistic Ex Machina.
At the same time, Annihilation may also hit the same beats sci-fi/horror fans are all too familiar with. But, look, if Marvel can still dazzle with 20 films that all do the same thing, Annihilation can get away with it, too.
Annihilation will be released in theaters on February 23.