Surprisingly, there are only a handful of movies that use the word “annihilation” in their names. But it should be no surprise that the best of those films is not Mortal Kombat: Annihilation. Instead, it’s Annihilation, the 2018 sci-fi horror thriller written and directed by Alex Garland. As a filmmaker, Garland had already amassed an impressive resume as a writer/director prior to this film, including 28 Days Later, Dredd, Sunshine, and Ex Machina. But Annihilation is Garland’s masterpiece, and it’s currently heating up the movie charts on Netflix.
Natalie Portman headlines the cast as Lena, a former soldier turned biology expert, who accompanies an expedition into The Shimmer, an area that has been infected with extraterrestrial life that threatens to consume and transform everything within its borders. And given that Lena’s husband, Kane (Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse‘s Oscar Isaac), was the only survivor of a previous expedition into The Shimmer, Lena has a personal stake in unraveling this mystery.
And now, we’ll share three reasons why you should watch Annihilation on Netflix.
It’s a rare female-led sci-fi movie
Aside from Kane, there are no other major male characters in Annihilation, and Kane only appears briefly. Instead, the bulk of the focus falls on the five women in the expedition: Lena, Josie Radek (Thor: Love and Thunder‘s Tessa Thompson), Anya Thorensen (Gina Rodriguez), Cassie “Cass” Sheppard (Tuva Novotny), and Dr. Ventress (Jennifer Jason Leigh).
This makeshift team is never fully united, but they begin turning on each other when The Shimmer exerts its influence on their minds and their bodies. Portman’s Lena gets the majority of the heavy lifting, but her co-stars also shine especially when they come into conflict with Lena.
The body horror is truly frightening
The first thing that becomes clear is that none of the women in the expedition are immune to The Shimmer. But while their metamorphosis is in progress, viewers get to see the alarming effect that The Shimmer has on local wildlife and plants. It’s like stepping into an alien world without ever leaving the planet.
We don’t want to give too many spoilers away, but there’s a particularly nasty bear that shows up and does things that no normal animal should ever be able to do. And that’s just a small preview of what these women will encounter.
It forces you to ask questions
Make sure that you’re paying attention at all times during Annihilation. This is a movie that demands that you watch the screen closely, or else you may miss some unnerving details inside The Shimmer or its effects on the women. This is also a film that poses more questions than answers, and you will definitely be confused if you don’t follow along.
Having said that, Annihilation is a rewarding cinematic experience that you can now watch at your own leisure. And if there’s ever any scene that you need to see more than once to understand, you have that option on Netflix.
You can watch Annihilation on Netflix right now.