Saturday, August 8, 2020

Annihilation: Beautiful Cosmic Horror

Reel Reviews

After her husband disappeared over a year ago, cellular biologist Lena (Natalie Portman) discovers him in her house—alive, but acting completely abnormal. After trying to get him help, Lena and her husband are abducted by special forces and taken to a hidden facility where Lena learns what happened to her husband3 years ago, an anomaly fell to Earth and grew into what scientists have dubbed the Shimmer, an unknown region where no communications can be made, and every individual who has ventured into the zone has never returned, except her husband. To make matters worse, the Shimmer has been expanding.  

With her husband’s life on the line, Lena volunteers to join a scientific exploration team with the intent of journeying into the center of the Shimmer to deduce its origin, and just maybe, find a way to stop it. The journey will not be easy, however, for the laws of nature no longer apply within the Shimmer, and only the abnormal thrive. The film also stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Benedict Wong, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, Oscar Isaac, and Tessa Thompson. 

There’s horror, there’s sci-fi, and then there’s the sci-fi/horror genre known as Cosmic Horror, which is where this movie falls under. Based on the book of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer, “Annihilation” is the classic story of mankind facing the unknown. There’s no villain or antagonist in this story, it’s about our cast of characters entering an alien world created on Earth as they try and decipher the mystery of the Shimmer. 

The overall story is like a mix between Lovecraftian horror and Kubrickian ambiance. There’s no jump scares or cheap moments of the movie going ‘Boo’ at the audience. The true horror of this story is conveyed through the atmosphere of the music and the disturbing visuals presented. However, and consider this a minor spoiler, the visuals aren’t always horrific. While the world inside the Shimmer is alien, the visuals are very imaginative and fascinating, which works in conjunction with the horror visuals. What we’re seeing is beautiful yet disturbing at the same time—except for the monsters. Yes, there are monsters in this story, and yes, they’re freaky. 

I have to also commend the special effects in this film as well. While I will always prefer practical effects over CGI, the effects in this movie feel on par with a Marvel Movie. The creatures, the environment, and the overall surroundings are all beautifully woven into the film.  

“Annihilation” is rated R for violence, bloody images, language and some sexuality. If you’re looking for a story that focuses on mystery and horror, combined with alien-like visuals, you can’t go wrong with this film. Which is why the final score for “Annihilation” is a 7.5 out of 10. 

Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. He currently serves as a Journalist and Copy Editor to the Coastal Breeze News and is working on becoming a Published Author. 

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