mike@projection-booth.com mike@projection-booth.com

July 10, 2019

Episode 423: Annihilation (2018)

Guest Co-Hosts: Tony Black, Chris Stachiw

Writer/director Alex Garland's Annihilation (2018) stars Natalie Portman as Lena, a biologist, who has lost her husband to a place called Area X. She is a part of a team that goes into Area X, perhaps in search of answers, or for something more.

Tony Black and Chris Stachiw join Mike to discuss the film, 's Southern Reach trilogy, and more.

Listen/Download Now:

Read Eco-Horror, Climate Change And Alex Garland’s  Annihilation by David O'Donoghue
Read ANNIHILATION Is the Peak of Cosmic Horror by Kyle Anderson

"Helplessly Hoping" - Crosby, Stills, & Nash



  1. At the risk of sounding like "old man yells at cloud," I'm one of those people who doesn't really get the appeal of Annihilation. I though it had a weak plot, weak character, and bad use of symbolism disguised as "ambiguity." But what bothered me the most about the film is that it was specifically a bad *science fiction* film.

    Generally, bad science doesn't bother me in sci-fi, but Annihilation builds its entire "philosophical premise" on certain scientific principles brought up in the film, most of which they get wrong. It's therefore really hard to take its philosophy seriously when even basic facts are misrepresented.

    The "Lovecraftian" influences are certainly interesting, but also badly accomplished in my opinion. The essence of Lovecraftian cosmic horror is not a particular monster or weirdness, but the literal incomprehensibility of it. Lovecraft characters often go insane because they try to comprehend something that is, by definition, impossible to comprehend, and impossibly to visualize. It's meant to represent the inherent incomprehensibility of the cosmos (he was heavily influenced by the new science of his time, like Relativity and Quantum Mechanics). That's why it's so scary, and that is also why film adaptations of Lovecraft are very difficult to do. Film is a visual medium, but how do you visualize something that is literally impossible to visualize? I don't think Annihilation solves this problem, and in the end reduces everything to an simple entity.

    I do agree, however, that the film is AMAZING to look at. Worth watching just for that. But as a film, I was deeply disappointed by it.

  2. Wonderful to hear your sidebar discussion on Cosmic Horror in cinema.
    Funny enough, after I listened to this episode I went to Youtube to find RLM just uploaded a Re:VIEW on IN THE MOUTH OF MADNESS!

    (Is there MADNESS in the air?)

  3. Great show. Really enjoyed Annihilation during both viewings (once theatrically and once on DVD). Awesome to hear it discussed at such depth.