Alex Garland to Write and Direct Enviro-Horror Thriller ANNIHILATION

     October 31, 2014


Just yesterday, the trailer debuted for 28 Days Later, Dredd, and Sunshine writer Alex Garland’s directorial debut, the fantastic-looking sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, and now Garland is lining up another incredibly promising directorial project.  Variety reports that he has been tapped by Paramount to write and direct an adaptation of the first book in Jeff VanderMeer’s excellent Southern Reach trilogy, Annihilation. The books are at once terrifying and incredibly compelling, with each novel written from a different perspective and with a unique authorial voice.

The first book, Annihilation, follows the expedition of four women who are sent into the mysterious “Area X”, a portion of land in the United States that has been secretly quarantined due to abnormal activity.  They are the twelfth expedition sent into Area X.  The second ended in mass suicide, the third in a hail of gunfire as the members turned on one another, and the eleventh expedition returned as shells of their former selves, all dying of cancer shortly after coming back.  More after the jump.

annihilation-book-coverVanderMeer’s book series was written all at once and all three novels were released this year, with Annihilation hitting shelves in March, Authority in May, and Acceptance in September.  Per Variety, Garland will write and direct Annihilation for Paramount and producer Scott Rudin (The Social NetworkNo Country for Old Men).  As a fan of the book series (which you should seriously pick up; it’s unlike anything you’ve read before), I’m intrigued by the notion of seeing it adapted to film.  It won’t be an easy task, as all three books rely heavily on balancing tension with the mystery behind the origin and nature of Area X, but Annihilation is very much a first-person thriller so I think Garland is a swell choice to spearhead the adaptation.  It also has one hell of an ending.

While we haven’t yet seen Garland’s directorial skills in full, the Ex Machina trailer was a very promising first look, and he’s proven very adept at handling tension and horror with his previous screenplays.  Fingers crossed this one comes to fruition.

Read the synopsis for Annihilation below.

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide, the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
The group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain, record all observations of their surroundings and of one anotioner, and, above all, avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another that change everything. []

Latest News