Annihilation is a straight out #Lovecraftian science fiction body horror!
The movie is a visual wonder. It opens up with a meteor hitting a lighthouse (where the greatest visuals in the film take place near the end) which has since then expanded. These events take place three years before the main events faced by Natalie Portman’s character (Lena) and her team of scientists, and two years before those faced by her husband and his crew.
Lena wants to find out what happened there so she volunteers in the hope that she can find a cure to whatever is ailing her husband and find out what happened to him and his crew, and why he was the only one of them to come back.
Once there, they find themselves in a place filled with beauty that seems too good to be true. In fact, Lena often uses the word ‘impossible’ to describe all the wonders that they are witness to. Such things should not exist yet they do.
Who or what is causing them? The movie concludes with Lena coming face to face with a terrible realization, and becoming almost insane as a result of it. This parallels the characters of Lovecraft who can’t cope with finding the truth about their reality and their place in the universe.
While the movie is based on the book of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, the story is clearly inspired by Lovecraft. To put it mildly, this is cosmic horror at its best. This movie does not have the usual jump scares that many movies have today; there is just a feeling of dread and utter helplessness. The kind you feel after finishing one of Lovecraft’s short stories. The timing of the score was fabulous. I felt like I had been transported into a horrifying blend of Lovecraft’s lesser known stories of “the music of Erich Zann”, From Beyond” and “The Nameless City.” As for the alien intelligence itself, it was a mixture of all these entities and the Yith.
And the unknown does not necessarily equal darkness, but coming face to face with tunnels of cosmic wonders that transcend our understanding. What does this extraterrestrial force want? Do we want to know and once we do, will we be ready to embrace that truth? These questions will drive some viewers insane and that is the point of this film. For this reason alone, I highly recommend it to my viewers.