Just as Life trumped Alien: Covenant to be hailed as the best sci-fi/horror of 2017, Annihilation is getting way more attention than the much-hyped Cloverfield Paradox. Whereas the latter left fans turned off from the franchise, Annihilation sticks with moviegoers long after they leave the theater. Director Alex Garland purposely leaves many questions unanswered, not to alienate us, but to challenge us.
What is The Shimmer? What does The Shimmer represent? What’s Annihilation’s deeper meaning? What happened in the Lighthouse? Is Lena a clone? These and other questions will be debated for years to come. But Erik Voss at New Rockstars does his best to shed light on these compelling mysteries in the video below.
Related Article: (SPOILERS) “Annihilation” Ending Explained + In-Depth Analysis
Give it a spin and let us know what you think in the Comments section! If you can’t stream, the details you probably missed in Annihilation are briefly summarized below the video. If you haven’t seen the film for yourself yet, skip down to the bottom for a trailer, synopsis, and spoiler-free review of Annihilation. Enjoy!
Warning: Below There Be Spoilers!
Official Synopsis: Annihilation (2018) movie explained! What does the ending of Annihilation mean? What is the Shimmer, and what happened in the lighthouse scene? What is the film’s alternate ending, and how does the story differ from the book? Erik Voss breaks down the final sequence of Annihilation and explains the deeper meaning of the movie’s extended metaphor. How does director Alex Garland build on the sci-fi concepts he laid out in Ex Machina (2014)? Is Natalie Portman’s character a secret imposter?
The idea of refraction is foreshadowed when we see Lena and her husband holding hands through a glass of water.
Cancer is a reoccurring theme first introduced in Lena’s lecture and continued throughout her analysis of The Shimmer. Towards the end of the film, it’s revealed that Dr. Ventress is dying of cancer and that the disease is her primary motivation for taking on the dangerous mission. The Shimmer itself is described as a tumor. Doppelgangers are like cancer cells that duplicate and eliminate healthy cells.
Self-destruction is a reoccurring motif in Annihilation: Josie Radek cuts herself, Anya Thorensen is an addict, Cass Sheppard is crippled by grief over the loss of her daughter, and Lena was an adulteress.
The film’s conclusion represents Lena’s battle with the unwanted version of herself that she’s become.
The most obvious suggestion that Lena’s clone is telling the story is the prismatic shimmer seen in her eyes, there are other clues suggesting the doppelganger won the final showdown. Lena suffered a concussion in The Lighthouse, so the switch could have happened then. Also, during her interrogation, the glass of water behind her is mutating.
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Official Synopsis: Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac. It was written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later).
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