Esther Rosenfield’s review published on Letterboxd:
alex garland has made three movies about women in a row and i can't help but find it weird that his entire conception of womanhood is just about being abused and traumatized. annihilation pivots on a scene where a character lists the various traumatic histories of each of the five leads. in this film, jessie buckley's harper isn't even a character at all. her entire persona comes through implication, the idea that we're supposed to side with her because of the sexist microaggressions she's subjected to rather than understanding her as a person (plus an underbaked grief-and-trauma angle that just comes packaged with this kind of arthouse horror now). a discourse-ready screenplay that's so desperate to be interpreted that it doesn't even bother giving you anything to chew on in the moment. yes we know men are often inconsiderate and don't take women seriously. is that really all you have to say? i'm sure it will be enough for the insufferable twitter/tiktok/letterboxd lib crowd who constantly share similarly hack pop-feminist garbage, but i think if you're going to posture as an intellectual artist then you gotta actually put some work in. there is absolutely nothing to this movie. nothing worthwhile being said, he can't even conjure a compelling image like he did in annihilation. this is like the final boss of a24-ish horror, just a collection of ideas its target audience already believes, delivered at an interminable pace and full of tediously symbolic visuals. i am so desperate for this bubble to finally burst.