Saturday, 30 December 2017

The Crawler in the Tower

Spoilers follow for both Jeff VanderMeer's novel, ANNIHILATION, and its soon-to-be-released film adaptation, directed by Alex Garland.

The above screenshot, taken from the recently released second trailer for ANNIHILATION, appears to be a very spoilery look at The Biologist's climactic confrontation with the tower crawler. A couple of other, less explicit, images from this scene are scattered throughout the trailer. That Paramount/Skydance are so willing to spoil the film's ending, just so they can shoehorn some of its most powerful imagery into the trailer, speaks volumes about their lack of confidence in what Garland has delivered. Indeed, they're so utterly freaked out about ANNIHILATION's lack of commercial appeal (based on an allegedly disastrous test screening a couple of months back), they completely choked, cancelling its worldwide theatrical release, and dumping it onto Netflix instead. Unless you live in the United States, you'll more than likely be watching this film on your TV or laptop at home.

This is classic studio suit behaviour of course, but in the end it's probably the most positive outcome for the film, and for fans of intelligent, weird sci-fi horror. I'd rather watch Garland's film, as it was intended to be seen, on a small screen at home, than a butchered test-screening travesty in a theatre. 

What we're seeing here is the marketing machine struggling to assemble trailers with mainstream appeal, but I think in February we're going to get something much more akin to UNDER THE SKIN. A moody, visually stunning arthouse sci-fi, which leaves the viewer with a number of unanswered questions.

I couldn't be happier.

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