Any time a directorial debut comes along and blows everyone away, the follow up is eagerly anticipated. Well, following Alex Garland‘s acclaimed 2015 debut Ex Machina, a release date has been revealed for his sophomore effort, Annihilation. The film will arrive in cinemas on February 23, 2018.
The film will star Natalie Portman and is based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, described as a “sci-fi thriller by way of eco-horror”. The film follows Portman’s biologist who leads a team of scientists into a mysterious terrain known only as ‘Area X’, where nature has reclaimed the land and isn’t too welcoming to its human intruders.
Alongside Portman, Garland has assembled a terrific cast including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and a second team up with Ex Machina pal Oscar Isaac. It’s not surprising that Garland can attract big stars considering the success of his first feature.
In a great sign for the film, VanderMeer himself has already praised it very highly, calling it “mind-blowing, surreal, extremely beautiful, extremely horrific” before going on to praise some of the changes Garland made:
“It’s actually more surreal than the novel. There are a couple places where I was like, ‘I might need an anchor here.’ The ending is so mind-blowing and in some ways different from the book that it seems to be the kind of ending that, like 2001 or something like that, people will be talking about around the watercooler for years. Visually, it’s amazing”.
Considering Garland was a successful novelist (The Beach) and screenwriter (28 Days Later, Sunshine) before moving into the directors chair, it’s fair to say the guy is pretty talented. Annihilation can’t get here fast enough.