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Annihilation | 2018 | R | - 5.6.6

After a meteorite strikes Earth, the area around a lighthouse in Florida becomes an environmental anomaly where evolution may be accelerating and whoever goes inside disappears. A former soldier and top biologist (Natalie Portman) leads a team of experts into the anomaly in an attempt to understand what is happening. Also with Jennifer Jason Leigh, Oscar Isaac, Tuva Novotny, Gina Rodriguez and Tessa Thompson. Directed by Alex Garland. [1:55]

SEX/NUDITY 5 - In two shadowy flashbacks, the bare back and upper buttocks of a woman appear before the camera, moving up and down as she gasps (we see the side of one breast briefly and no nipple is evident); the camera cuts to the face and bare chest of a man lying under her as he arches his upper back and gasps, ending the scene (they're married to other people).
 A man and a woman lie in bed and we see his bare chest, part of her abdomen, bikini underwear and bare legs as they laugh and kiss briefly; he lies on top of her and the scene ends (sex is implied). A shirtless man lies beside a clothed woman in bed as they talk and kiss briefly once; no sex is implied. A shirtless man (with a large rose tattooed over his shoulder and chest) and a woman lie in bed and her blouse rises slightly to show a strip of flesh around her waist as they talk. A clothed man and woman hug and kiss briefly. A man and a woman hold hands in close-up. A straight woman asks a gay woman, "Do you have to hit on every woman you meet?" (we see no sexual activity).
 Two scenes show a woman wearing a V-necked blouse and a V-necked nightgown, both revealing nipple outlines and cleavage.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - In a close-up, film footage shows a man using a knife to cut a large square of flesh from a grunting man's abdomen; the first man pulls back the bloody flesh and we see snake-like coils writhing through the victim's abdomen. A man sits down in front of a camera on a tripod that is behind the audience's viewpoint, he talks about stress and pulls the pin on a hand grenade causing it to explode with a loud boom and a bright flash; the light clears to show a smoking skeleton and a clone of the man walks from behind the audience POV, stands beside the skeleton, and looks into the camera, ending the scene.
 A woman walks to a vine-covered lighthouse that stands among tall crystal trees: In front of it we see a row of skeleton torsos upright in the sand, a row of human skulls in front of them, a row of leg bones in front of the skulls, and a row of ribcages flat in the sand nearest the camera while inside the building we see a seated skeleton dressed in charred rags; the woman sees a hole in the wall and hears muffled noises as she climbs into the hole and down into a cave and we see that her eyes have disappeared and she vomits white light and fire as she is surrounded by bubbles of light that split like replicating cells and a featureless humanoid figure appears; the woman climbs out of the cave and confronts another humanoid that knocks her down, slams her into a wall, and presses against her (we see streaks of blood on the woman's head, streaming onto her cheek) until the woman places a hand grenade into the hand of the humanoid, pulls the pin, and runs out of the building as the grenade detonates and we see the humanoid's forearms on fire but not consumed by the flames until it sets everything on fire.
 A man drinks from a glass of water and blood is left in the glass as he convulses and the camera cuts to the man in the back of an EMT vehicle, convulsing and spewing blood from his mouth to cover his face and chest; soldiers run the vehicle into a ditch and forcibly remove the man and his wife and we see the woman in a quarantine cell, where she walks behind a metal divider and we hear her vomiting (she exits wiping her mouth with her hand, but we see no vomit) as the camera cuts to the man on a gurney, with sensors on his bare chest and a thick breathing tube in his mouth. A woman points a rifle at a woman lying on a mat, and then turns the rifle butt and slams it into the woman's face, as if were her.
 Three women are shown bound and gagged with another woman threatening them with a knife as a giant creature (a cross between a mountain lion and a warthog) enters the room, screaming in the voice of another woman, its mouth bloody and showing several rows of teeth and four fangs covered with dripping drool; it knocks the chairs over and swallows one of the women as another of the women grabs a rifle and shoots it dozens of times, finally shooting off its face in spewing blood until the animal falls dead. Four women camp in an abandoned building in a restricted area where we hear a roar and grunting and a giant mountain lion rushes in and grabs one of the women away and she screams a dozen times off camera; one of the other women finds the victim lying face up, dead with eyes open and her voice box ripped out to leave a bloody hole. A woman at the door of a flooded cabin is pulled in swiftly by something unseen; three other women dive through the door, pull her out (she is uninjured), and we hear a roar as we see roiling waters and a huge saltwater crocodile (its head is bloody) as a woman shoots a rifle multiple times into its body until it finally grunts and dies with blood streaks covering its head and body.
 Lightning strikes a lighthouse and we see a close-up of gel spreading and becoming larger at the base of the building where a small fire burns briefly; a wall of gel rises like a curtain from a jungle forest into the sky, making noises like muttering and muffled roars as we hear that the phenomenon is spreading and destroying all species on Earth; five scientists armed with military rifles enter the area to find trees that have become covered with flowers, woody plants have grown into human shapes covered with blossoms, the bodies of three missing soldiers have been engulfed with vines, moss, and lichens that have grown out of the bodies and the head of a soldier is found in a path (we see no blood or facial expression).
 In cave scene, we see a drop of blood from a woman's eye divide into two cells with hairy worms on the surface; the cells divide quickly to become a featureless humanoid that looks like a soft-fleshed robot and it grows several long body stalks that curl up around its head and it shrieks like a high-pitched trombone. A woman develops a tattoo-like mark on her arm, then begins to grow tiny twigs and buds along one arm and she walks away into a meadow, where we see she has become a woody human-shaped plant covered with small flowers and another person develops a figure-8 mark on one forearm, but she changes no further.
 A woman sees her missing husband entering their house and he says that he couldn't remember a year of past events. A biologist says that all species seem to be cross breeding with one another in an area. A woman says that cancer cells can be immortal and we see a video of cancer cells dividing and growing at a rapid rate. An outside wall is covered with what looks like crocheted flowers of various sorts and colors and a biologist remarks that they look like tumors. We hear that a woman's husband died a year previously of an unknown cause and that another woman's daughter died of leukemia.


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LANGUAGE 6 - About 13 F-words and its derivatives, 6 scatological terms, 4 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, weird, old, nuts, liar), exclamations (shut-up), 4 religious exclamations (Oh My God, Holy Christ, God Made A Mistake, God Doesn't Make Mistakes).


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SUBSTANCE USE - A woman says another woman is an addict who tried to commit suicide (we see no drugs). Three women take a sip from their beer bottles together after work.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Genetic manipulation, illness and disease, human experimentation, disasters, biological warfare, undiscovered species, xenobiology, evolution, change, psychology, suicide, self-destruction, relationships, trust, death, loss, grieving, infidelity, cooperation.

MESSAGE - Genetic manipulation can result in unexpected problems.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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