Annihilation is a unique enthralling sci-fi thriller With a relatable allegory, cerebral ambitious script, mesmerizing imagery, and distinctive film score.
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. At 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 that reminded me of an iridescent oil spill that rises out of the ground like smoke.
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 – accompanied by its distinct haunting musical score – is both beautiful and horrific due to the implications of its big reveal: the only thing far worse than death is turning into something else that you can barely recognize yourself.
The all-female cast has characters each with their own problems. Performances are great across the board that even if we get little snippets of who they are, they all still feel distinct enough based on the burden that they carry.
Like their surroundings, these characters are also going through their own transformation. You see, Annihilation is an allegory for mental suffering and the psychological journey that comes in dealing with it.
Each woman has their own issues – guilt, depression, grief, and self-harm. As they unravel the mystery of Area X, one seeks to understand it, one intends to overcome it, one succumbs to it, while the rest are engulfed by it. Through this process, they are invariably changed for the better or for the worse. This is evidenced by one creepy sequence, where Lena struggles in a “dance” for survival.
You get a pretty yet philosophical picture that transcends the familiar elements of its sci-fi narrative. In the end, you are scared, enthralled, and left pondering. The best kind of sci-fi that’s rare these days.
Annihilation talks about self-destruction but also reflects on transformation. One must inevitably shed a part of oneself to change, and whatever the result may be, is something that we can’t always control.
Alternative Movie Poster by Studio Murugiah
Annihilation is a unique enthralling sci-fi thriller with a relatable allegory, cerebral ambitious script, mesmerizing imagery, and distinctive film score.