This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kristina Winters’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
I didn't see the film again but I did want to include a spoiler filled explanation of why it made me so upset.
WHY KRISTINA HATES ANNIHILATION:
This film is supposedly about a team of women scientists. However, the science in this movie is painfully bad. (I expect that some movie science will be terrible, so don't misunderstand that I expect perfection, I just expect SOME FORM OF ACTUAL LOGIC FROM WELL WRITTEN FEMALE CHARACTERS).
1) Husband comes home from mission to mysterious quarantined place without getting caught or found. (Ok, I'll bite and let this one go, there's no plot without this) and vomits up blood all over wife's house, the ambulance workers, and wife herself. They are stopped by military and husband is taken into isolation and quarantined. Staff wear bunny suits around him and wife (THE BIOLOGIST) repeatedly worries he might have contracted a virus. However LITERALLY NO ONE IN THE MOVIE considers that wife might have been exposed to this mystery virus and become infectious. She is left to roam around with zero quarantine or testing, potentially infecting the entire crew. A quarantine worker even FALLS ASLEEP (????) leaving the isolation room unzipped so she can go have a sad moment with her husband with NO PROTECTION or concern for infectious disease. She is a biologist who would be aware how infectious many viruses are, through bodily fluids at minimum and also potentially airborne. THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN.
2) To further drive home this point, when wife returns from her mission they AGAIN have her in isolation and everyone around her is in bunny suits fearing contamination. ISOLATION CAN'T BE USED JUST WHEN IT'S A CUTE PLOT POINT OR TO MAKE A SCENE LOOK SCI-FI!
3) With no resolution on the infection issue (no testing or clearing of the husband from infectious diseases, contamination, radiation exposure, or other causes of all of his organs SHUTTING DOWN and having massive internal bleeding), this group of female scientists decides to go into the shimmer WITH ZERO PROTECTION OF ANY KIND BESIDES BIG DUMB GUNS. They don't wear hazmat suits, they don't have Geiger counters or radiation detection devices, gas masks. They don't even wear frigging GLOVES when they touch unknown specimens and contaminated blood. NO SCIENTIST TOUCHES ANYTHING WEIRD WITHOUT PROPER PPE.
4) When camping in unknown territory, one major concern will always be water. You can carry enough food (though their packs didn't seem heavy enough for 2 weeks of rations) but carrying two weeks of water is completely impossible. There is no evidence they carried or cared about water filtration or even being near water at camp time. All the buildings appeared to be in such disrepair I doubt any plumbing functioned. Wife recalls she never remembers eating, but scientists would definitely consider clean water a top priority at all times.
5) The physicist in this film was grossly misrepresented. She only talked about radio signals twice, with little actual knowledge or data besides hearing static on the walkie-talkies (where is her detection equipment?) Then, she DEFERS TO A BIOLOGIST to see if her theory of refraction of the signal is correct!!!! The physicist would know a bazillion times better than a biologist on this issue. This is completely written this way to make Wife look like the hero and the only non dumb team member.
6) The psychologist team leader, who it was stated is an expert at making teams with compatible personalities and screening candidates for stability (that's, literally, her schtick) fails to detect, or even be concerned with, her team member's erratic behavior. She would absolutely recognize it immediately if she were anything other than a very bad plot device.
7) I have no idea what scientists the other two women were because they were completely and totally irrelevant.
8 )The crystal trees growing out of the beach, I assume, are meant to show some sort of blending of sand and plant. Since they showed all kinds of other incompatible DNA hybridizing, I'm sure someone thought how cool it would be if crystals and plants did too! What they didn't know because THEY DO NOT KNOW SCIENCE is that sand and crystals DOES NOT HAVE DNA!!!! It's just atoms in a lattice. If you merged it with anything, IT WOULD NO LONGER FORM A LATTICE because it couldn't order itself enough. To make it worse, when everything catches on fire at the end, they show crystals burning. CRYSTAL DOES NOT BURN OR CATCH ON FIRE. At most, in a very hot fire (burning something else around it, which there wasn't in this case) a crystal might melt. Never burn.
9) They mention that they tried to send robots and drones into the shimmer and nothing ever came out. This is backed up by our non-physicist physicist declaring that all electromagnetic signals are refracted back within the shimmer and that's why they can't contact the outside. However, the first thing a scientist would consider is using a drone that DOES NOT REQUIRE SIGNAL. We have measuring devices of this sort for all kinds of things. You fire them like a missile *through* the shimmer area and go fetch the data on the other side. They would have done this AT MINIMUM before sending a team inside. Do you know how many things we sent into space before letting humans go???
10) Beyond the logic, the "science" visuals were also awful. The dividing glowing blood cell? She didn't prep or stain that blood sample and blood doesn't divide when it has already lost its nucleus (you can't see one in the visual). Plus, they only divide a few times before they stop so the likelihood that she's seen one divide is small. Ok, let's say we believe she's irradiated or alienated or whatever has happened to them and now all their cells are dividing at a crazy pace. WHERE ARE THE TUMORS that they see all over plant life and buildings. If their skin is "moving" when they look at it, WHY DO WE NOT SEE MUTATION when it is clearly evident everywhere else around them. You could say they weren't exposed long enough, but husband certainly was before he killed himself, so where was his mutation???
Ok, I'll stop at 10. I'm getting myself all upset.
The TL;DR of this whole crock of crap of a movie is that the male writers felt like a team of big dumb women with big dumb guns wouldn't be respectable, so they had to make them "scientists" so that we'd believe anything they say. Except they did it so badly that it is an insult to science and to women everywhere.
Ok, I lied, one more.
11) One of the women gets pulled under water by an alligator thing. She's yanked and thrashed around for many seconds and yells that it has her by the leg. Yet when they rescue her (and kill the big monster with big dumb guns) NO ONE BOTHERS TO LIFT HER PANT LEG to see her injury. Alligators grab with their teeth. You don't get away from them with zero tearing. But nope. No first aid. No worry about infection, blood loss, sepsis. ZILCH.
Ok, I double lied, two more.
12) In the house scene where the bear is going to eat the wife, one of the women shoots the bear a lot in the head with her big dumb gun. Unfortunately, wife's head is EXACTLY on the other side of the bear's head that is being pummeled by lots of high powered assault rifle bullets. So none got through? There was no risk to aiming the shot like that?