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The most beautiful moments from the 'Annihilation' teaser

Director Alex Garland's upcoming sci-fi epic brings to life a mysterious world unlike any we've ever seen before.


October 3, 2017 | Latest Photo Prev Next
Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman in a scene from director Alex Garland's 'Annihilation.' Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman in a scene from director Alex Garland's 'Annihilation.' Photo: Annihilation
October 3, 2017 | Latest Photo

Nearly three years after British filmmaker Alex Garland announced his intentions to direct the science fiction thriller "Annihilation," eager fans finally have their first look behind the curtain.

The film, an adaptation of American author Jeff VanderMeer's celebrated first book in the "Southern Reach Trilogy," revolves around an all-woman team of researchers sent to investigate an environmental disaster zone on Earth known as Area X. As shown in the new teaser released, what they encounter is both beautiful, otherworldly and downright deadly.

A scene from the teaser trailer for 'Annihilation' showing the mysterious boundary line of Area X. A scene from the teaser trailer for 'Annihilation' showing the mysterious boundary line of Area X. (Photo: Annihilation)

The team of researchers includes a psychologist played by American actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, an anthropologist played by "Jane the Virgin" star Gina Rodriguez, a surveyor played by American actress Tessa Thompson (who also co-starred with Israeli actress Alona Tal on "Veronica Mars"), a linguist played by Swedish actress Tuva Novotny, and a biologist played by Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman.

While the film follows these women as they explore Area X, the focus as presented by the teaser trailer is squarely on Portman's character and what she experiences within the disaster area. Using the same acting talents that brought her critical acclaim for "Jackie" and an Academy Award for "Black Swan," the Harvard grad is the perfect fit for conveying the enigmatic horrors of VanderMeer's story.

A macabre, but strangely beautiful scene from "Annihilation" showing what appears to be a human body-turned-plant collage. A macabre, but strangely beautiful scene from 'Annihilation' showing what appears to be a human body-turned-plant collage. (Photo: Annihilation)

Much like his previous work with the 2014 artificial intelligence thriller "Ex Machina," Garland is being extremely careful about not giving too much away with this teaser. From what we can tell, those entering Area X appear to become infected somehow with something that slowly turns them into plants. As seen in the image below, the infection appears to start slowly under the skin.

Is some kind of alien plant life responsible for the infections in "Annihilation"? Is some kind of alien plant life responsible for the infections in 'Annihilation'? (Photo: Annihilation)

Unfortunately for those infected, later scenes appear to show the outlines of humans who succumbed to the alien life form, leaving behind only floral outlines.

What's apparently left of those humans to stay too long within 'Annihilation's' Area X. What's apparently left of those humans to stay too long within 'Annihilation's' Area X. (Photo: Annihilation)

The way "Annihilation's" alien virus takes hold (as shown in the shot of the deer below) is reminiscent of the fungal infection that's at the center of the award-winning video game "The Last of Us." In that 2013 thriller, conceived by Israeli-American creative director Neil Druckmann, infected humans are eventually transformed into giant fungal plants.

The albino deer in Area X spotted by Portman's character. Notice how the one on the left is further along in its plant transformation than the other. The albino deer in Area X spotted by Portman's character. Notice how the one on the left is further along in its plant transformation than the other. (Photo: Annihilation)

Based on the way the situation degrades over the course of the teaser, as well as what appear to be flashbacks to Portman's character after the expedition, we're pretty certain that a fair number of the team members do not return from Area X. As seen below, large portions of it also seem to beautifully combust.

A fiery scene from the teaser to 'Annihilation.' A fiery scene from the teaser to 'Annihilation.' (Photo: Annihilation)

While those who have read VanderMeer's trilogy are in the know as to what's going on here, the rest of us will have to wait to unravel this beautiful puzzle of horrors until Feb. 23, 2018. You can check out the full teaser below.

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