Sci-fi horror film Annihilation swings through its visual achievements and storytelling failures so fast it’ll leave your brain cramped and exhausted by the end. Equal parts absorbing, terrifying, and discombobulating, the movie — based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy and written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later) — stars Natalie Portman as a biologist-soldier on a mission to save her husband and the world from the grip of an ever-expanding bubble of DNA mish-mash and death called the “Shimmer.” Despite some oddly campy dialogue among characters we never learn to care about, the fiction of Annihilation’s science is so viscerally arresting and pretty to watch that the other stuff doesn’t matter.


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