Alex Garland has been writing creepy yet cerebral films for 15 years now, with 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Never Let Me Go to his credit. But in 2014 he decided to try his luck in the director’s chair, and what emerged was the awards circuit contender Ex Machina — the film that put Alicia Vikander on the map as an A.I. that takes the term “humanoid” to a whole new level. Today we’re finally getting our first look at his follow up directorial effort, Annihilation, courtesy of this teaser trailer which looks — yup, you guessed it — both creepy and cerebral:
The film stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. Garland wrote the screenplay based on the bestselling novel by Jeff VanderMeer (the first book in his Southern Reach trilogy), and while it doesn’t look like the studio has released an official synopsis for the film, here’s the book synopsis from the publisher if you’d like more info:
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; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died 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 months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.
This is the twelfth expedition.
Their 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 and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to 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.
Based on the trailer alone, it looks like Portman and Isaac are married (way to go, both of you!). He volunteers for one expedition, and is in a coma or something afterward. So she sets out on another (all female?) one, and badness ensues. She must make it out, though, because she’s getting grilled about whatever she encountered inside the soap bubble-looking thing by people in containment suits. Oh, and there are plants in the shapes of people (or people in the shapes of plants?!), crystal trees, and a lot of bones.
The film hits theaters February 23, 2018. But I’m sure everything’s gonna be fine. Nothing to worry about.