Do I know what Annihilation—writer-director Alex Garland’s follow-up to 2015’s Ex Machina—is about? Not really. Judging from the trailer that dropped Wednesday morning, it could be about a group of soldiers or government-funded explorers who wade into uncharted, dangerous territory and come face to face with something that confounds them, haunts them, and probably kills them. The plot synopsis of the Jeff VanderMeer novel on which the movie is based provides a little more detail: The group seen in the trailer are an expeditionary troop—composed of a biologist, anthropologist, psychologist, and surveyor—setting out into “Area X.” They are the 12th such group; the first 11 have been rattled by disappearances, cancer, suicide, and severe PTSD.
But here’s a more important question: Does it matter what Annihilation is about?
The answer is no because Garland is one of the most talented sci-fi writers in modern cinema, the man behind 28 Days Later, Sunshine, and Dredd.
The answer is no because Ex Machina was also a moody, mysterious psychological thriller that saved us from the slog of movies we’re often inundated with in the first six months of a calendar year.
The answer is no because of this cast. Natalie Portman, Gina Rodriguez (!!), Tessa Thompson, and Jennifer Jason Leigh make up the expeditionary group. There could be a movie about the four of them walking around Target for two hours, and I would watch it.
The answer is no because Oscar Isaac is one of the lone male characters in Annihilation, and he has a knife.
The answer is no because we’re so rarely surprised by movies now, and that feeling of shock—even if it’s frustrating—ought to be cherished.
The answer is no because of this GIF:
The answer is no because The Ringer’s Rob Harvilla just said to me, “If the movie makes as little sense as the book, people are gonna be pissed.”
I’ve never looked forward to being angry before, but now I can’t wait until February 2018.