‘Annihilation’ is totally different from the book and that’s why it’s so great

Alex Garland’s Annihilation diverges pretty wildly from its source material, to the extent that fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s novel may want to brace themselves for some surprises. 

But VanderMeer, for one, is just fine with that.

“I wasn’t really looking for someone to do an ironclad, faithful adaptation,” he says in the Annihilation featurette above. “I was looking for something that was interesting that would surprise me.”

Garland, whose previous credits include Ex Machina, turned out to be just the guy to do that. He’s a fan of VanderMeer’s novel – “It was truly original,” he gushes – but he found a way to make it his own.

Which is probably for the best, considering that the source material felt nigh unfilmable. We won’t spoil what is or isn’t in the film, but we will warn you that you should leave your expectations at the door and go in with an open mind.

If you do, you’ll be rewarded with something that isn’t quite like the source material, but does capture what VanderMeer calls “that mix of beauty and terror” – and which is unlike almost anything else we’ve seen in theaters lately.

Does that get your attention? If so, Annihilation is in theaters now.

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