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MicroReview: Annihilation (2018)


A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don't apply.


While not quite reaching the heights of intelligent horror that it was stretching for, Alex Garland (Ex Machina) does a good job of creating a movie from Jeff VanderMeer's novel - that he admits to not having read in some time. Natalie Portman (Black Swan) leads a largely female cast, who give great performances across the board - with a shout out to the spectacular performance of Tessa Thompson (Sorry to Bother You).

A slow burn from the start, after a mysterious event some years previous The Shimmer - a strange unexplained area - is growing in size, and every attempt to breach it and explore has resulted in disappearance and death. Except, that is, when Portman's husband (Oscar Isaac), returns from the last mission. Cue sending in a team of female scientists. Once inside The Shimmer the film goes full science fiction, laced with some effective horror scenes.

Without doubt, the film is exceptionally shot, inside The Shimmer is beautiful, the CG is outstanding. I personally found the ending was the let down of the whole effort. It was left very open ended - but I didn't find myself caring enough about the characters to warrant a sequel.

It's well worth watching, but not as ground breaking as it could have been.

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