My History With the Film:
I wasn’t sure whether or not to review this film for Brandon’s Horror. I mean, it’s really a genre bending sort of movie. It’s part sci-fi, part drama, and part horror. But after giving it much thought and recalling a specific scene, I figured it deserved its own spot here on Brandon’s Horror.
What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):
A group of women goes into a mysterious bubble where physics do not observe laws to find the previous team that never came back.
What I Liked About It:
-The visual effects are just mind blowing at time. So much thought and work went into making this mysterious zone not obey the laws of physics and you have to tip your hat to the writers and artists that turned this into a reality.
-There is a scene… with a bear… that is one of the most haunting things I’ve ever seen in my entire life and the soul reason I’m including this film on this horror site.
What I Didn’t Like About It:
-Natalie Portman… wow. I’m usually a big Natalie Portman fan but she was terrible in this. She wasn’t believable as a bad ass and overall she just seemed very miscast for this film.
-The movie is weird and it presents a lot of weird ideas and it comes off as pretentious. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to enjoy it or appreciate it, but it felt like someone making a sci-fi art film. Like they looked down on the genre and said, “I can tell a “real” sci-fi story.” I could be totally wrong, but that was the vibe that I got from the film.
-Oscar Isaac filmed his The Last Jedi at the same time on an adjacent studio.
-Alex Garland decided to not re-read the novel Annihilation but instead to adapt it as a “like a dream of the book.”
-There was a huge uproar after a bad test screening. Paramount financer David Ellison wanted the film altered because it was “too complicated” and “too intellectual” and he wanted it to appeal to a wider audience. He was overruled by producer Scott Rudin, who had final cut. This led to a change in distribution with Netflix taking over international releases while Paramount released in US and China. I don’t usually agree with studio meddling but in this case, I think David Ellison was right.
I wanted to love Annihilation. I enjoyed the heck out of Ex Machima and I just thought this type of heightened science fiction would be my cup of tea. But I struggled to make it through this film. I think it took me four total times to watch it and then I found myself anticipating it ending. I’m not sure if it just got too weird or if I was so turned off my Portman’s performance, but outside of a couple of great scenes, this movie was a real stinker for me. I do not recommend it and I would rate it a one out of five and say skip it.