Annihilation is gorgeously bonkers (and gory)

All I knew going into this film was that a crew of women go into some scary place. And that my local theater was only showing it twice a day. Sitting in a nearly-empty theater watching previews, my daughter (whose nickname is “IMDB”) reminded me that it was directed by Alex Garden of Ex Machina fame. “Ohhhhhh” said I. “This should be interesting.”

And boy, was it. It’s sci-fi horror, trending more toward horror than the trailers would have you think. I startle/squealed at one point, and IMDB–who doesn’t even flinch at superscary films like The Conjuring and the first Paranormal Activity–scrunched down in her seat and made an unnnngggghhhh noise that I’ve never heard her make.

So here’s the premise in a nutshell: Some shit comes from space and zaps a lighthouse somewhere on the Atlantic coast of North America. Around the lighthouse grows something called The Shimmer which is ever-expanding and from which nothing that goes in has ever come out. But! Natalie Portman’s squeeze Oscar Isaac suddenly comes out of it and he’s very ill. Natalie plus Jane the Virgin and three other badass scientists crew up to go inside and see what the F the lighthouse is all about.

Well, shit goes sideways from there, but not in your standard grey and brown  “alien evil” palette. No, The Shimmer has taken over  a wilderness area that is colorfully, rampantly lush with flora and fauna run amok. And I mean SUPER AMOK. Like “Hell no” amok. This is not an action-packed shoot-everything-that-moves flick. This is creeping dread, with gorgeous cinematography, violent gore, legitimately interesting characters, and a unique story. Oh and the music is Interstellar good. And loud.

This is a film that will keep your mind engaged long after the closing credits.

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