Paramount Pictures has released a new Annihilation trailer for the highly anticipated follow-up from Ex Machina writer/director Alex Garland. Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s terrifying eco-horror novel of the same name, the film stars Natalie Portman as a biologist whose husband is recruited on a secret mission, then comes back unrecognizable and in dire straights. She, along with three other women, are then sent to the same location, the mysterious “Area X”, a portion of land in the United States that has been secretly quarantined due to abnormal activity. In the book, they are the twelfth expedition sent into Area X on behalf of the mysterious Southern Reach organization. The second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as the members turned on one another, and the eleventh expedition returned as shells of their former selves, all dying of cancer shortly after coming back.
For book readers, this new trailer offers a clearer overview of how Garland approached this adaptation, while also teasing the incredibly strange and surreal sci-fi thrills that fresh audiences can expect. I would describe VanderMeer’s book as being in the “enviro-horror” genre, in that the environment itself is where the horror is derived, and it looks like Garland was able to translate that aspect of the book tremendously well. I love how weird and strange it all feels, and those expecting a clear-cut story or some large mythology that gets explained in the third act should brace themselves—if the movie is anything like the book, it’s not about answers but the experience itself. And what a hell of an experience it looks to be.
Watch the first Annihilation movie trailer below. The film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. Annihilation opens in theaters on February 23, 2018.