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Is Netflix the new straight-to-video?

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I saw it last night and can understand the criticism (though I have to say I thought Mute was great).

Vandermeer's book is better paced. It achieves the Lost-style narrative technique of introducing new mysteries at the same time as addressing the existing ones. The film leaves too much work to an acceleration in the fifth act (and so felt very similar to Sunshine, which Garland also scripted).

The book is also the first of a trilogy - the film is more self contained.

So my recommendation would be to read the book first. The fact that it isn't, to my mind, at all a spoiler for the film says quite a lot about the film.

I don't particularly mind Netflix becoming the channel for this sort of film, so long as they get made. Thing is, I think it would have been a better film if Garland had known he was making it for Netflix in the first place; when you say he "refused to compromise his vision", I think it's more likely he refused to compromise his vision *any further* than he had already done, in trying to balance the demands of the material and those he expected from the current shape of the industry.


There is no doubt this is a polarizing film, in part, because it's not easy. This one takes mental energy to figure it out as it gets more complicated, more violent, and less coherent the deeper our scientists get into the shimmer (no I did not think of makeup at all - odd association, that). Biology, memory, emotions, and the environment merge in a way that almost builds on Garland's previous exploration of boundaries between human and machine identities in Ex Machina.

Perhaps what the reviewer reveals in his take is the other outcome of easy-to-digest blockbuster high on quick-pace, effects, and low on narrative and character development: difficult movies that require patience are dismissed. Blade Runner 2049 was very much this way as was the original. These were slow films that sought to immerse you in uncomfortable and brutal spaces and required your active participation rather than passive consumption of eye candy even if Blade Runner was loaded with this as well.

If you leave Annihilation wondering what the hell just happened, talk it over with someone and then watch it again. It's along the same lines as Under the Skin which follows along visually and thematically in very similar frames. That is also hard to digest.


I am truly grateful to Mr. Garland for not compromising his work, where others may have relented to "dumb down" their films to please the lowest common denominator of moviegoer (and reviewer) that needs their quick adrenaline fix from seeing a hail of gunfire taking down the bad guy. In this era where we are saturated with comic book films, Garland's masterwork is a welcome breath of fresh air. And truly a horror movie in an unsuspecting sense that can shake the thinking person down to their core. At least it did me.

This was a brilliant movie. While I can excuse the uninvolved and cell phone distracted movie-goer for not "getting it," it's more difficult for me to do so for a so-called serious movie reviewer. This movie is not for everybody, but it's really wonderful to be able to see truly meaningful and inspiring science fiction. Garland is a true artist in every sense of the word. That I am thankful for.


This film is a fairly sophisticated metaphor for mental illness, as well as cancer.
I urge the reviewer to rewatch it, after watching Tarkovsky's Stalker (and go for Solaris as well!)

I am not some pedantic, angry online commentator, and I've never said this in my entire life, but it's shocking how many reviewers simply missed all the subtext and layers that this film has to offer. It's really bizarre, but here we are. If you're reading this because you're confused by the Economist review, it's because you're right to be confused, and you're right to recognize this as a masterful film.


You write that In general, ""Annihilation” is paced as if everyone behind and in front of the camera were dazed and confused." as if that was a mistake or bad directing. However that is the whole point; the characters ARE dazed and confused. Which also explains their weird actions throughout the movie.

This is literally a core premise of the film; the Shimmer causes people to lose focus and act weird. Did you even watch the same movie as everyone else?

Michael Andrew Anthony

Mute and The Cloverfield Paradox were both truly odious, and there is no dispute of that from any corner.

Meanwhile Annihilation received a theatrical release in Canada and the United States, is currently certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a score of 87, and has a score of 79 on Metacritic, putting it well above average there.

I think this review might be stretching a bit.


Respectfully disagree regarding the quality of Annihilation. I felt that the trailing thoughts and words of the characters inside the shimmer were a sign of how it was affecting their minds, the lack of score during the most thrilling/horror moments only intensified the emotion for me, and though the final encounter was the most out of place nonsequitor of the film it was intriguing enough to hold my interest and maintain tension.