More times than not when you see a film you know what you're getting into. You know trailers, you know what's it based off and you know the directors style but sometimes and not often as you would like, you get something different that you could never expect. Annihilation is that something different to 2018. Get ready to be stunned.
With a lot of feels to the Blair Witch Project (1999) and based on a book of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation (Natalie Portman) follows Lena, a former soldier, and biologist who's husband Kane (Oscar Isaac), a soldier who disappears oddly in what's to refer to as the "The Shimmer," an unknown area with strange happenings and something odd going on in a lifehouse. Seeing as though she owes her husband, Lena goes with a team of scientists to figure out really what is going on in this mysterious area.
Based off trailers alone, Portman is the star in this and like every other role, she does it all. In what will be forgotten with everything going on, a really nice love story is found between the Lena character and Isaac character. She cares about him so much that's she willing to put herself in such a harmful environment and basically, she's willing to do whatever she wants for his answers. A determination character that Portman really sells and makes believable. As for the Kane character, Oscar Isaac makes the character odd, creepy and makes you question him so much. More good characters can be found in the team of scientists as you have Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the leader of the team and much like Portman, again a determination character who wants her own answers for herself. After such a bigger role in Thor: Ragnarok, Tessa Thompson is giving less to do playing Josie Radek, a depressed girl who has her own demons. Along the way, you have Cass Sheppard (Tuva Novotny), who's on this journey because of her daughter and lastly, we have a loudmouth character in Ayna (Gina Rodriguez) who puts a psychology twist to the film. To make a great film, you more times than not need a good cast and Annihilation has that. A female cast carrying a horror film.
Another big aspect of this film is that it comes from director Alex Garland and basically, he creates another charming world again. From his other screenwriting work which includes 28 Days Later (2002), Sunshine (2007) and directorial debut Ex Machina (2015), you are in for a trippy ride that can be so different at times. From what "The Shimmer" looks like which is really just a big bubble and to the creatures inside, it's all something original and using STRONG visual effects. Along with these visuals, Garland creates a fun atmosphere from a military base, swamps, overgrown grass, and the shoreline, it's a setting with a lot and it knows how to work with a lot. It's a plot dealing with the unknown and not knowing what happens around the next corner. A film that's horror also but action as well as Portman who really works in bad-ass antics as she done before.
Once this film reaches its third act, it's really losing its mind (in a good way) with Garland’s filmography etched into it. Similar to The Blair Witch Project’s third act which was tied to a house and we all know what happens in it, Annihilation’s third act is also tied to a lighthouse and we have an uneasy feeling with what’s about to happen inside it. In so many ways, it's hard to fathom and put into words what happens in this lighthouse. Using strong visual effects and again Portman doing her very best as she does it all in the third act. A third act that makes a film as it does for this and the type of act that could lead to a whole long discussion on the subject on hand as much as I did with my two people after the film. In the end, a third act that can't fully be talked about until you see it. (And if you like to get high with your films, this is the perfect ending for you. Yes, seriously.)
I've been around films too long to count, seen most everything and still nothing much adds up to what it is. It's this year Get Out, something above and beyond everything that will blow you away.