In the hands of capable storytellers, science fiction can reveal insight about our humanity, instead of just a plot device for CGI action and bloodless mayhem.
It’s easy to dismiss Annihilation as a beautiful heap of nonsense. On the surface, it’s your average story about a group of people who explore a scientific phenomenon and the usual plot points that go with it. The mystery is simply called Area X, surrounded by a shimmer.
At close inspection though, sometimes the simplest things are actually far more complex underneath the surface.
The plot is slow but punctuated now and then by body horror and science-bending bio mystery. It’s the kind of sci-fi that asks big questions but refuses to answer them, demanding the audience to think about it themselves.
Area X is not plagued by your run-in-the-mill mutation. This leads to very intriguing imagery of altered organisms in a place where destruction and creation seem to take place at the same time. The worldbuilding is accompanied by its distinct haunting musical score.
This is a place where people’s veins turn into vines while the rest of the body deteriorates, turning them into beautiful yet eerie garden sculptures.
An all-female crew has to navigate this insidiously dangerous place. Performances are great across the board that even if we get little snippets of the characters, they all still feel distinct enough based on the burden that they carry.
In the book, Annihilation is about control. The movie deviates from this and it becomes about surrendering yourself to the unknown. Every person who tries to make sense of Area X don’t fare well in it, which leads to scary horror moments.
Annihilation didn’t make much because it was poorly marketed. The producers were afraid that mainstream audiences wouldn’t “get it”. Even if you don’t get this movie, Annihilation remains a beautiful and haunting film. Plus, there’s bound to be a YouTube video explaining what it all means anyway.
So go and watch this movie. Let yourself be intrigued.
Annihilation is a unique enthralling sci-fi thriller With a cerebral ambitious script, mesmerizing imagery, and distinctive film score.