In case you were worried there wouldn’t be scary monsters in Annihilation, the feature adaptation of the first novel in Jeff VanDerMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, the new trailer is here to assure you: Don’t worry, there are monsters aplenty.
Unlike the eerie first trailer, which was much more abstract and accurately captured the vibe of the novel, this new trailer seems more geared for the mainstream crowd, people who want their stories clearly laid out for them before they ever set foot in the theater. It follows the traditional beats of the average Hollywood thriller trailer, start to finish. That might seem kind of lame to you, and you’d be right! This is a weaker trailer in every way, but it definitely makes clear the basic plot: Natalie Portman’s husband went missing in a strange area of land called “the Shimmer,” and she joins a team of women who go in to try and figure out what happened. (That team includes Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, and Gina Rodriguez.) They see all manner of strange phenomena, and it involves a mutating gene that apparently infects and warps everything it touches, in seemingly impossible ways.
It also appears the more intangible aspects of the novel have been laid out in a less abstract, more visual and kinetic manner, though hopefully that’s a trait of the trailer more than the film itself. Lending credence to that hope is the fact that writer-director Alex garland (Ex Machina) is behind this adaptation, and he’s never been one to shy away from more ambitious and unusual storytelling. We’ll know for sure when Annihilation opens February 23, 2018.