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Watch the Trailer for 'Ex Machina' Director's Stunning Ecological Thriller

A gun-toting Natalie Portman leads a dangerous mission into a quarantined stretch of jungle in Alex Garland's 'Annihilation.'

by Beckett Mufson
29 September 2017, 4:00am

On Wednesday, Paramount dropped a teaser trailer for writer-director Alex Garland's Ex Machina followup, Annihilation, which follows a gun-toting Natalie Portman on a secret mission into the jungle to discover the alien environmental entity that put her husband (Oscar Isaac) in a coma.

The film, based on Jeff VanderMeer's sci-fi novel, follows a crew of female researchers into "Area X," a blocked area of uncanny landscape from which no one who enters has returned. Portman, a biologist, teams up with Jennifer Jason Leigh, a psychologist, Tessa Thompson, a surveyor, and Gina Rodriguez, who plays an anthropologist, for the 12th expedition into the mysterious area for the Southern Reach Organization.

Despite the fact that everyone who's ever gone into Area X has died of cancer, been shot, or committed suicide, according to Collider, Portman's character is determined to find out why her husband would embark on "a suicide mission."

Like Ex Machina, the film looks to be as horrifying as it is beautiful. The first trailer takes the crew to a iridescent barrier in the middle of the wilderness, a creepy Stranger Things–like portal, and back to a room of researchers where Portman tries to recount what she saw and experienced in Area X. Bodies are snatched, gunshots are fired, and flesh is infected with flora amid hauntingly beautiful animal-plant hybrids.

Annihilation is Garland's first feature since 2014's Ex Machina and reunites the director with Isaac, amid a significantly larger cast than his breakout indie sci-fi thriller. As the script is based on the first of VanderMeer's Southern Reach trilogy, we could be looking at two more installments in this lush cinematic universe.

Check out the trailer for Annihilation before it hits theaters on February 23, 2017.