Annihilation: Ex Machina’s Garland Talks Stranger Next Film



Alex Garland, a hell of a writer behind terrific contemporary genre and sci-fi films like 28 Days LaterSunshineNever Let Me Go and Dredd, recently made his feature debut with Ex Machina, which introduced a hell of a director as well. The thoughtful, sleek and unsettling tale of A.I. has wowed many since spring release and anticipation is high for follow-up, Annihilation. Which, according to Garland, will be more in the vein of ferocious films like 28 Days and Dredd

Speaking to, Garland explains Annihilation is “in the sort of darker, stranger, propulsive space. It’s more like Dredd and 28 Days LaterNever Let Me Go and Ex Machina basically are reflective, quiet, talky movies, and this has some of the same sort of propulsion, I’d say, of 28 Days and some of the hallucinogenic aspects of Dredd, but they’re way more ramped up. Way, way more ramped up.”

Based on a novel by Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation is the future-set tale of an expedition, which seems to recall classical sci-fi horror of groups sent off into the unknown, besieged by madness and violence. Its Amazon synopsis reads: 

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.

The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one anotioner, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers–they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding–but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything.

Annihilation is expected to get underway in 2016. As of May, Natalie Portman was attached to star.