Review of Annihilation (2018)

Moving picture, 115 minutes

Seen in 2019.

A shimmering anomaly extends gradually from a lighthouse hit by a meteorite.

I love the idea of adapting “The Colour Out of Space” (1927) with an all-female team of scientists and fairly big-budget special effects. This is almost that. However, Garland veers away from the great glory of The Colour toward the lesser glory of Solaris (1961) with its impersonators and fumbling first contact.

Predictably, Garland doesn’t care about the science, so instead of a reasonable investigation, we get conspiratorial bullshit (a big part of the US cordoned off without any public knowledge), chimeras, horror-movie tropes and assorted prop flowers that merely remind me of bad children’s shows. Individual scenes and sets are evocative, and thankfully, Garland does manage to stay true to the themes he takes from H. P. Lovecraft and Stanisław Lem, but it’s an echo with no real power or acuity.

fiction moving picture