Alex Garland’s “Annihilation” will be your next sci-fi obsession

Prepare yourselves.
Prepare yourselves.
Image: Paramount Pictures
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Alex Garland became one of the world’s most important filmmakers to watch after his 2015 directorial debut, the psychological android thriller Ex Machina, wowed audiences and critics alike. His next project looks even stranger and scarier.

Based on the fantastic book by Jeff VanderMeer, a leader in the “new weird” literary movement (sort of a mix between sci-fi and Lovecraftian horror), Annihilation follows an expedition of scientists (all women) who venture into bizarre territory that’s been reclaimed by nature. After entering, some uncanny and unexplainable things start happening. Divulging anything more than that would be a disservice to the story. Think of it as a surrealist, frightening adventure story, a cross between Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker and the coolest parts of ABC’s hit show Lost.

In the film version, Natalie Portman will play the protagonist, an unnamed biologist in VanderMeer’s novel. Oscar Isaac plays her husband who went on a previous expedition into what’s known as “Area X” and returned a changed man. Watch the creepy, colorful trailer below:

VanderMeer’s novel was the first part of a trilogy exploring “Area X,” but Garland’s film will likely only cover material from the first book. Before he was officially signed onto the project, Quartz spoke to Garland in 2015, when he said that he intended to make a single self-contained story. He said he admired VanderMeer’s novel for its “Ballardian” vibes.

Garland’s Ex Machina explored the nature of artificial intelligence, and the intersection of technology and consciousness. Annihilation explores the nature, of, well, nature, and humanity’s relationship to it.

Annihilation hits theaters Feb. 23. Good luck being able to sleep on Feb. 24.