The writer-director of Ex Machina is back with another cerebral sci-fi thriller — only this time, he’s showing us something far stranger than robots. Natalie Portman stars in Annihilation as Lena, part of a team of scientists sent to evaluate a mysterious life form in the wild. The unknown force seems to be causing bizarre changes to the DNA of the jungle: in the trailer, we see glimpses of alpaca-like creatures with flowering branches growing from their heads; human forms that seem to be half-bone, half-plant; and glittering, otherwordly trees bursting into flame. Lena’s husband (Oscar Isaac) appears to have already fallen victim to this strange invader, and her teammates — including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, and Tessa Thompson — are showing disturbing signs of becoming more plant-like. Watch the first teaser above.
Annihilation is based on the 2014 bestselling novel by Jeff VanderMeer. While the book had two sequels, director Alex Garland (an Oscar nominee for his Ex Machina screenplay) told Entertainment Weekly that the film is meant to stand on its own. The movie opens in theaters on Feb. 23.
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