Annihilation is a science fiction horror film directed by Alex Garland. The film stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny, and Oscar Isaac. In VanderMeer’s book, a team of (unnamed) scientists journey into “Area X,” an inexplicable and expanding ecological phenomenon centered on a lighthouse in the “Southern Reach,” an uninhabited part of the country. Teams of researchers have been sent in, and those that return often emerge in a zombie-like state and die of cancer soon afterwards. The book’s protagonist is a biologist whose husband was part of the prior mission; she is transfixed by a “tower” (described as a subterranean staircase) that her expedition comes upon, within which she meets an unfathomable creature she calls the “Crawler.” The encounter changes her (in mysterious ways expanded on in the sequels) and eventually puts her at odds with the leader of her group, a psychologist, who had been controlling the team through hypnotic suggestion.