By Marc S. Sanders

Science Fiction/Horror for the thinking viewer is the best way to describe this film.

Director Alex Garland has found a way to make a viewer’s eyes pop, not just with fear but with the unimaginable. This is as good an effort or better than his other well known film, Ex Machina. I foresee it will not be long before Garland is recognized among the ranks of today’s most notable and popular directors like Del Toro and Nolan.

This is not a run of the mill monster movie. This is fictionalized science that seems foreign and strange, yet makes complete sense by the time the credits roll. All questions are thankfully summed up despite a hanging thread or two to relish in deep thought long after the film has ended.

Natalie Portman strongly leads a nearly all female cast to uncover the purpose and functionality of “The Shimmer.” She does so, but at what expense? She’s great and believable in her role with lots of dimension by way of her career as a Johns Hopkins professor/former army infantry soldier and through periodic dreams of sin she feels guilty over.

Jennifer Jason Leigh does her best no nonsense disturbing creep. Gina Rodriguez makes good transitions in levels of sanity.

Like Black Panther, I’d argue this is also a front runner for art direction as an encapsulated swamp is overrun with strange pastel plant life, mixed up animal life and cinematic lens flare. Yes, here the lens flares serve a narrative purpose which is why the cinematography should also be given some recognition.

I’m looking forward to seeing this again to uncover what I missed the first time.

Annihilation turned out to be one of the biggest surprises of 2018.

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