I watched this in my film and television course and not going to lie, I think I liked to a tad bit more than I usually would because I managed to talk to someone I knew from last semester before the screening started so I was feeling proud of myself and then I sat next to them later too and they’re very cute.

*There isn’t really any spoilers in this review, though if you haven’t seen it the synopsis below is a must read*

Annihilation, written and directed by Alex Garland and based upon the novel written by Jeff VanderMeer, is a science horror film. It follows an all female team of military scientists into The Shimmer – a quarantined, mysterious zone that’s rapidly expanding and mutating all living things inside of it. The Shimmer seems to originate from a foreign object that’s landed on Earth, and therefore it needs be destroyed.

1. This movie is so aesthetically pleasing. Inside The Shimmer all the plants that were distorted were so pretty. And I liked that while outside of The Shimmer all the scenes were shot in clean, quite ‘white walled,’ enclosed places, this was then contrasted against the majority of the area The Shimmer had taken over. Most of what we see of The Shimmer is lush and greenery. And even though the beach inside The Shimmer is quite bare, unlike the previously places we’d seen, it still had a sort of ‘filtered’ look to it that make it distinctly ‘shimmery.’ Yet the whole time there was always still a clear cohesiveness to the storyworld, joining all the parts together visually.

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2. I loved loved loved how they had a clear narrative form in this film. They marked every different point with a black title card featuring just white text font on it of where the characters were (e.g. Area X, Inside The Shimmer, Just Outside The Shimmer)

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3. Okay, so the plot was kind of boring? I mean, it kept my interest, built up to its climax well, covered some interesting themes (like identity, self-destruction, psychology, science things and the supernatural) but I still felt as if it was kind of generic. There’s nothing wrong with that, but this movie does lack a bit of uniqueness in points I think. There wasn’t anything in it that I hadn’t really seen before.

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4. Obviously the acting was great. As you would expect. Plus I love the fact that this movie revolves around an all female team. The characters were also all different, interesting on their own and were their own person with their own experiences, skills and thoughts.

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5. I appreciate how the conclusion is kind of open-ended. Nothing is really fully explained, although it all makes sense from what information we’re given and we can conclude on our own what will happen after the film ends. But throughout the movie there is that repetition of the fact that The Shimmer is mysterious because it does not conform to our own understanding of the world – especially then considering that we don’t even really know the full extent of what The Shimmer can do. And I appreciate that. It makes everything a bit more realistic in a way since we don’t know everything about everything, and if something foreign did arrive on Earth then we most likely would not be able to figure everything about it all out.

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This movie is objectively, actually really good. It’s not really my usual go-to watch but I still enjoyed it. What I like most about this film though is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be deciphered and analysed, though there’s a lot to look at if you wanted to, as it’s sometimes just nice to let the mystery be.

Author: thespookyredhead

Come for the pop culture. Stay for the bad grammar.


  1. Keep on seeing the book featured in Waterstones but haven’t picked it up since I didn’t think it was my cup of tea. Since there’s a film maybe I’ll at least try that…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently the book and the film are very different and Garland just took the basic concept and some ideas from the book for the movie adaption to create something quite new. But people say to watch the movie first anyone because that way there’s no expectations! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I thought Netflix was getting annihilated when I read that title (shows how little I know about non-anime TV). Though I guess you can’t really annihilate something singular? XD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah I probably should have made the title a bit clearer 😂 I believe that the film was theatrically released in America, Canada and China while it was Netflix that distributed it internationally, and since I live in Australia most of my friends and family have no clue about this movie so I guess I just projected that onto my title 😂
      Hmm I don’t know if you could… Unless you blow it up maybe…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say I liked this film more than Alex Garland’s previous one, and it’s something of a shame distributors dropped the ball handling it (they haven’t exactly had a great track record this year). That said, while it has a very creative premise, I also have to say it is incontestably a product of the 2010s sci-fi scene, its most tedious elements (i.e. turning the narrative into a heavy-handed commentary on the nature of humankind) are in full effect here. All in all, I think how I feel about it can be summed up as: it manages to be good despite itself – if that makes any sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes sense! It did have a lot to say about humanity, and both films had the same sort of open ending with the machine/supernatural thing escaping out into the world. I feel like they both really leave us to wonder about what the thing will do once out there though… Ex Machina seems to focus more for Ava upon how she will interpret humanity. As a threat? Or will she express selective empathy (like humans do)? I think it is an interesting concept, and then I also liked that in Annihilation Lena paints the alien thing to be not necessarily of a superior intelligence or something like that, but more of a thing that we aren’t fully capable of understanding because it might necessarily have an explanation to offer 🙂


      1. That’s true, but I would argue neither provided a particularly insightful commentary on humanity – or if it was at one point, sci-fi writers this decade had done a great job beating it into the ground by 2015 when Ex Machina came out. It may have been a critical darling, but I found it to be rather poorly conceived – as though someone just looked at a list of Hollywood conventions and reversed all of them without making sure the new ideas actually gelled together. As I said, Annihilation is good, but it’s good despite being a clear product of its scene – one that fears the unknown rather than being curious to explore uncharted territory. It also didn’t have to resort to a puerile viral marketing campaign to sell tickets, so it has that going for it too.

        Liked by 1 person

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