Rejoice! Alex Garland‘s Ex Machina follow-up finally has a release date. Paramount has scheduled Annihilation to arrive in theaters on February 23, 2018. Based on the Nebula Award-winning novel by Jeff VanderMeer, the first in his Southern Reach trilogy, the sci-fi thriller by way of eco-horror stars Natalie Portman as a biologist who leads a team of scientists into mysterious terrain known as “Area X” where nature has reclaimed the land. There, they face contamination, disappearances, and deadly creatures. The film takes over the release date after Pacific Rim: Uprising pushed back to a March release date.
For Garland’s second feature film after his Academy Award-winning directorial debut, Garland has assembled yet another tremendous cast with Portman starring alongside. Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, and Oscar Isaac.
While I’m not familiar with the source material, Ex Machina is one of the best Sci-Fi films of the 21st Century and as the guy who penned the screenplays for 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Never Let Me Go, I’ll always be counting down the days until his next project. It’s nice to finally know just how many days there are to count, even better that it’s only a half-year away.
For his part, VanderMeer has laid out some pretty heavy praise for the film, calling it “mind-blowing, surreal, extremely beautiful, extremely horrific.” The author has also shared some praise for the changes Garland has made from the book.
“It’s actually more surreal than the novel. There are a couple places where I was like, ‘I might need an anchor here.’ The ending is so mind-blowing and in some ways different from the book that it seems to be the kind of ending that, like 2001 or something like that, people will be talking about around the watercooler for years… Visually, it’s amazing. I must say that and that’s all I probably should say.”