“Not only did it annihilate my will to live, but also my faith in film in general.”
The other night I watched Annihilation, the new movie by writer/director Alex Garland, and it was fucking abysmal. Annihilation is the kind of movie where the entire point is to immerse the audience completely in confusion, so for me to even begin to try and give you a summary would be a waste of all of our times.
Annihilation made absolutely no sense. It was one of those movies where you wonder if the writer ever had an intention, or if they made a script out of the minutes from an improv class. Annihilation has absolutely no grounds in reality which just means that all of the ideas are even fucking weirder. There is nothing that relates this movie to real life, and just when you think you’re getting a grip on what is happening something even weirder goes down and you’re more lost than a child in a crowded shopping mall. And what makes all of this even more infuriating is the fact that absolutely no questions that were posed in the movie were answered. Instead of answers, all we got were more, often weirder, questions. It honestly made me want to rip my hair out every time the movie would introduce something new without even building off of the last thing with an answer. And because you’re lost you’re no longer invested in the story, and that just makes the final problem more apparent: nothing ever happens in Annihilation. From point A to point B the journey is about five feet, but it takes two hours. Annihilation seemingly takes pride in making audiences anxious and annoyed with how little it actually addresses the interesting shit in the movie.
And what makes all of this al the more annoying is just how pompous the film itself is. I might be projecting a little bit, but you could tell that every shot was composed with the thought of “I’m so great”. The way that the story just throws you into the deep end and expects you to know what’s going on is most definitely a case of “this movie is just too smart for you”. The writer, as well as the fans, have used the films cockiness as a shield to protect it form any criticism that it could have received. Annihilation jumps from genre to genre because it didn’t know what to be, but this will be classified as “deep”. The story starts off by making you feel as if you missed about 30 minutes of the movie which sets the tone rather well for what you are about to spend the next two hours doing: scratching your head.
It’s not just the writing that’s shit either, but literally every other part of the movie as well. First of all, the music was almost as pretentious as the film itself. The indie acoustic guitar made me want to stick my head in an oven, and this problem just compounds the the soundtrack changes to a series of bass tones that accost your eardrums and make you feel as though you’re going to shit your pants. On top of this, the effects in the movie were fucking terrible. Honestly, I had figured that Annihilation would have at least had beautiful visuals going for it, but I was wrong. The quality of some of these creatures was about on-par with the Lake Placid films. But Annihilation made history by being the first film that featured a craft services table that consisted entirely of Ambien. If the fact that the story is about a dull as a spoon isn’t enough to put you to sleep, the performances sure will help. I couldn’t believe that these actors were delivering such dull, inspired performances in a movie where emotion could have been king. I have no idea if this once again plays into the artsy (read: pretentious) feel of the film, but it was painful to watch.
Annihilation was a perfect title for this movie in hindsight. Not only did it annihilate my will to live, but also my faith in film in general.
I give Annihilation an F