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A new featurette explains Annihilation’s mysterious Area X

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The film opens on February 23rd

One of the most anticipated movies of 2018 is Alex Garland’s Annihilation, a science-horror story set in a region of the country that’s been isolated by a mysterious barrier called the Shimmer. A new featurette helps explain what the barrier is — and what lies beyond it.

The film is based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer, and it follows a five-woman team that ventures past the barrier and into Area X, where they discover a world that nature has taken over in strange ways.

One of the film’s stars, Natalie Portman, says that none of the scientists know what the Shimmer is, nor what has happened to the people who have gone beyond it. It’s consumed a large region of land, and according to co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh, it’s quickly expanding. Soon, it will begin taking over cities.

The featurette shows off new footage of the world beyond the barrier, where Portman says they discover that life beyond it has begun to mutate. We see that Area X is now home to a range of odd and terrifying creatures, like strange, willowy deer, enormous crocodiles, and massive bears. The place might also have a horrifying, transformative effect on the people who enter.

Annihilation opens on February 23rd.