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Annihilation (2018) <><><>

This movie should have been called The Shimmer, so I referred to it as such even before seeing it. The shimmery thing they spend the bulk of the movie in is called The Shimmer by researchers. I guess it doesn't sound ominous enough. I didn't fully realize going in that this was a horror movie complete with jump scares and body horror.

Seeing an all female cast is awesome. They all have their daemons that are revealed strategically through the movie. Lena, Natalie Portman, volunteers her way onto the expedition to figure out what happened to her husband, who is in a coma after returning from the shimmer. The team is led by Dr. Ventress, Jennifer Jason Leigh, a reserved solitary woman. Her motivations are revealed last, but she commands your respect early on. The movie shows female power in subtle ways that get you rooting for them early.

I came out of the movie with a solid conclusion in my head. When I discussed it after seeing it, a few cracks were put into my theory. This movie is controversial and will likely leave you wondering what you just saw. Some people like this and some people don't. It is a different kind of horror sci-fi than I remember seeing before. By being sci-fi, the movie can explore unique situations in this universe. Maybe horror and sci-fi fans like movies that stick to their respective swim lanes. I think this movie uses a larger part of the pool. I can appreciate this movie despite not fully enjoying it. I think it deserves a bit more than <><>, so it falls up into the <><><> category for me.

*****Spoilers Below******

Is the reason Dr. Ventress is dissolved into tiny individual cells because she has cancer? Is the 'alien' smart enough to not use cancerous cells, or are they dispersed to increase the rate of mutation? Also, it is a bit ham-fisted to put the name of the movie in as the last words that Dr. Ventress speaks. That means that the movie title gives away the mission of the 'alien'. I fully believe that Kane, Oscar Iassac, is a copy. I think the real Kane self immolated with the white phosphorus. I think that the Lena that leaves the shimmer is the real Lena. Everything burns because it is all connected to the copy holding the grenade. I guess Kane V2 gets well because a connection is severed so his cells stop mutating in a hostile environment and meet some sort of symbiosis with the external environment.

I don't think it is all that clever to leave it up the audience to figure out whats real and make everyone's eyes sparkle just before the credit role. I think it is a late addition to a movie that needed a better ending.


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