Jeff VanderMeer's novel Annihilation, the first in his acclaimed Southern Reach trilogy, seems like it could never be filmed. It's the dark psychological story of scientists exploring a region of Florida dubbed Area X, which abruptly started defying the laws of physics and biology. Maybe it's been visited by aliens or become the portal to another dimension. Maybe toxic waste has finally gone sentient. The unnamed biologist who is our hero has no idea; she just wants to see this new ecosystem for herself.
A mysterious organization called the Southern Reach sends her into the region with a highly trained team, and what they see... defies description. In the novel, we see the world through the biologist's eyes: morphed animals, sentient fungus, terrifying lights, and weird architecture in the creepy inverted "tower" that extends deep into the ground. The team psychologist is constantly hypnotizing everyone—previous explorers have been unable to survive without hypnosis—and that adds to our sense of the surreal.
Somehow, director Alex Garland (Ex Machina) has evoked that same sense of dreamy, horrifying awe in the first trailer for the film, which comes out in February 2018. Natalie Portman plays the biologist, and we see the bizarre features of Area X seething around her as if the entire ecosystem is somehow haunted. Garland is probably the perfect director for this feature. His Ex Machina was a mesmerizing blend of action and philosophy. My suspicion is that this movie will work its way deep under your skin.