February 23, 2018 115 minutes R

Blending horror into science fiction can be a wonderful thing.

Filmmaker Alex Garland continues his Kubrick fascination in 2018 sci-fi drama ‘Annihilation‘. A tour-de-force of unnerving horror, potent character drama, and highbrow science fiction.

Just as in Garland’s ‘Ex Machina’ and Stanley Kubrick’s immortal ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, this film has no qualms about going against commercial expectations by giving us something more than just cheap thrills. It challenges our notion (and perception) of reality while wowing with grand performances, an ominous sonic aura, and brilliant otherworldly visuals.

Lena’s long thought dead husband Kane (Oscar Isaac) suddenly reappears without explanation from a classified special forces operation. And government officials quickly swoop in just as Kane grows violently ill. They’ve got secrets that simply must be kept.

An unknown, ever-expanding energy force has encapsulated a growing section of American swamp land. And other than Kane no one has ever returned. So, seeking answers to help her dying husband, Lena (a simmering Natalie Portman) joins an all-female expedition into “the Shimmer”.

This dense, multilayered sci-fi head-scratcher is equal parts ‘2001’ and ‘Apocalypse Now’. A growing sense of madness, regret, and self-destruction overwhelms as they adventure into this terrifying, yet, beautiful Earth/alien hybrid landscape.

Annihilation‘ is not for the faint of heart; it demands dedication. If you require your genre films to be wrapped up nicely in bow you’ll leave disappointed. However, perseverance rewards by presenting a deeply provocative, visceral experience that lingers.


Enshrouding the characters in mystery and lingering regret allows this unfolding adventure to reveal more than just horror and beauty. Stellar.

About the Author
Chad Schulz