At once a gripping jungle survival thriller and an alluring sci-fi puzzle, Garland’s heady gambit confirms he’s one of the genre’s best working filmmakers.
It is tough, bleak, brutally intense, and genuinely scary - not in the cutesy cathartic way of most horror films, but in a way that makes you ponder the nature of existence and leaves you with a pit in your stomach.
The Hollywood Reporter
To be sure, the climax delivers copious amounts of blood and guts and tension and look-away temptations. But there are enough interesting surprises, in addition to the narrative promise, to provide for the presumed, and now quite desired, sequels.
Able to generate dread and awe with equal skill, Annihilation is an absorbing amalgam of genres and influences, all coming together to produce a dazzling creation as vivid as the hybrid life forms our heroes encounter on their perilous journey.
For those willing to put in the effort, Annihilation achieves that rare feat of great genre cinema, where we are not merely thrilled (the film is both intensely scary and unexpectedly beautiful in parts) but also feel as if our minds have been expanded along the way.
A psychological mystery laced with environmental disaster and alien-scary juju, Alex Garland’s elegantly unsettling Annihilation is here to shake up your night at the movies in the most mind-bendy way possible, but without foregoing the pleasures of an ambitious sci-fi entertainment.
The Film Stage
A shimmering example of what Hollywood sci-fi can achieve when the aim is high, Annihilation is a gripping, mystifying adventure and proof that a transportive experience is more rewarding than a story with clean-cut resolutions.
Annihilation is more than mere visuals and it will shock, fascinate and haunt whatever screen it’s watched on.
New York Magazine (Vulture)
To mistake Garland’s succession of haunted-house-like spectacles as Acid: The Place would be missing out on so much emotional work that he’s doing. (Although, the squeamish should be warned those spectacles range from mildly disturbing to gory and disgusting to absolutely terrifying.)
Annihilation isn’t always as consistently well-executed or involving as it might have been, and it’s told in a manner that robs the story of some much needed life-or-death suspense, but overall it’s a bold undertaking that doesn’t play it safe and features some strong performances.