13 Movies Like Annihilation

Natalie Portman attended the movie premiere of 'Annihilation' on February 13, 2018.

I loved the movie Annihilation. For me, it evoked the question of what would happen if an alien life force were to visit us, kick us off our pedestal as reigning species; how would such a scenario play out? Annihilation horrifically answered this fear-invoking question.   

Movies like Annihilation includes the following:

  • The Thing
  • The Mist
  • A Quiet Place
  • District 9
  • Life
  • Moon
  • Arrival
  • Edge Of Tomorrow
  • Invasion Of The Body Snatchers
  • Stalker
  • Predator
  • Sphere
  • Alien

All of the movies listed deals with fighting for human life when an alien one enters it.

Arrival sketched a world where an alien invasion was subtle at first and then grew exponentially, changing our world physically playing on our fears of the unknown. The horrible beasts that the movie conjures up are nothing compared to what we conjure up in our twisted minds when confronted with the idea of meeting alien species.

1. The Thing (1982)

The Thing

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Director: John Carpenter

Cast: Kurt Russell, Keith David, Wilford Brimley, Richard Masur, and T.K. Carter

The Plot

Something strange is happening in Antarctica. During the winter of ’82, a Norwegian helicopter races across the sky in search of a husky. The husky is making his way to the American research base, Outpost 31, where the twelve-man research team is preparing for winter.

What is strange about the scenario? Well, for one, the Norwegians are shooting at the dog and throwing grenades at it, hoping to kill it. As the helicopter lands at the American base, the two Norwegians hysterically shout in their native tongue.

After one manages to kill himself and destroy the helicopter with a grenade, all hell breaks loose.

The remaining Norwegian shoots a researcher, Bennings, in his left leg, then gets shot by team leader Garry in self-defense. When the snow settles, the question remains: Why did the Norwegians try to kill the dog? To answer this, Macready (helicopter pilot) and Copper (base doctor) make a mission to the Norwegian camp to investigate.

They find a camp destroyed, dead researchers, one apparent suicide, and numerous burnt human bodies. The pair also discovers the frozen corpse of a twisted creature, not man nor beast, but alien. They take the body to their biologist, Blair, to perform an autopsy.

The report is that it is some kind of alien life form. When the husky morphs into a strange creature that attacks the researcher’s sled dogs and themselves, they realize why the Norwegians were frantically trying to kill the dog. It soon becomes clear that this alien life form can take over any life form, including humans, spreading like a virus.

Tensions escalate when it becomes clear that “The Thing” could inhabit anyone at the base.

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2. The Mist (2007)

The Mist POSTER Movie (27 x 40 Inches - 69cm x 102cm) (2007) (Style B)

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Director: Frank Darabont

Cast: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden, Andre Braugher, and Tobie Jones

The Plot

The small town of Maine is hit by a ferocious storm one night, leaving the houses damaged and the locals in need of supplies. David Drayton, his son Billy, and his next-door neighbor Brent embark on the supply mission to their local grocery store the following morning.

While on their way to the local supermarket, they observe military convoys, emergency vehicles, fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars are driving into a type of mist that engulfed the town. It is clear that the mist is not regular fog, and as if on cue, the town’s emergency siren starts to wail.

While in the supermarket, a frantic local arrives claiming that something is alive in the mist. The front is quickly boarded up. David and a few others decide to start the generator outside the back entrance, where a tentacle-like-creature drags the store’s cashier, Norm, into the mist.

It is clear that there are blood-thirsty creatures in the mist, and the shoppers have to fight for their survival. They don’t know that this is all due to a failed military experiment, Project Arrowhead, that opened an inter-dimensional rift. There are aliens in the mist.

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3. A Quiet Place (2018)

A Quiet Place

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Director: John Krasinski

Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward, and Leon Russom

The Plot

It’s day eighty-nine of the Abbotts ordeal. Earth is devasted and overrun by seemingly indestructible alien creatures. The struggle in isolation, not knowing if anyone is still alive besides them, is real.

What makes it even harder to survive is that life in utter silence is now required.

The extraterrestrial creatures track their human targets solely by sounds, and even the slightest sound can attract your death. Now surviving for almost twelve months, the Abbotts have adapted their lifestyle to survive in this muted dystopia.

The eldest daughter, Regan, is deaf and has no way to gauge sound, which makes her father’s mission of fixing her hearing aid all the more critical. For her and her family’s survival in the future. Studying these alien creatures, they hope to find a crack in their armor, eventually free them from this silent tyranny.

The Abbotts have lost a lot due to the alien invasion, but they will also grow in numbers, with a newborn expected soon. This usually joyous event will indefinitely put the family’s lives in danger, but it’s a chance they are willing to take.

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4. District 9 (2009)

District 9

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Director: Neill Blomkamp

Cast: Sharlto Copley, David James, Jason Cope, Nathalie Boltt, and Sylvaine Strike

The Plot

In 1982, an alien ship arrived in South Africa, hovering above Johannesburg, for three months without contact. Eventually, the curiosity of the humans gets the better of them, and they cut into the ship. They find an alien species, sick and malnourished that they quickly name “Prawns” due to their physical appearance.

Fast forward a couple of decades, the alien novelty has worn off, and the “Prawns” now reside in government camps, mainly consisting of dilapidated shacks. Due to overcrowding and militarization, the area quickly turned into a slump called District 9.

Mumbo, a paraplegic Nigerian warlord, quickly establishes a black market between the aliens and the Nigerians.

The market includes inter-species prostitution and dealing in alien weapons. The “Prawns” are addicted to cat food, so the Nigerians quickly build an impressive arsenal. The problem is only a prawn can use it, as their alien biology activates it.

With human patience running out, it is decided to move the “Prawns,” to District 10, located 240 km from Johannesburg. The idea is to use the security forces of the M.N.U. Wikus Van Der Merwe is tasked with removing the “Prawns” in any way possible, however inhumane.

When Wikus is hit by an alien substance in the face, when searching a prawn shack, he starts to mutate into a prawn.

He is slowly beginning to turn into the very thing that humankind despises. The oppressor quickly turns into the oppressed, as the M.N.U. starts hunting Wikus to dissect his body. The only “people” who Wikus can turn to for help are the same prawns he tried to evict.

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5. Life (2017)

Life

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Director: Daniel Espinosa

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, and Hiroyuki Sanada

The Plot

When the first unmanned space probe returns from Mars, potentially containing evidence of extraterrestrial life, the six-member crew aboard the International Space Station (I.S.S.) are instructed to intercept it before it reaches earth orbit. Hugh Derry, an exobiologist, will study the samples and look for any life.

When Derry revives a dormant cell, it quickly grows into a multi-celled organism that the American public dubs Calvin, as it is such a cute creature. Derry’s studies of Calvin lead him to the conclusion that Calvin’s cells can change their specialization, acting as muscle, nerve, and photosensory cells all at once.

To make matters worse, all communications have been severed with the earth due to overheating of the systems.

The crew recognizes that Calvin can’t reach earth, as Calvin is the reason that nothing lives on Mars. Its primal instinct is self-preservation. The crew members will need to kill Calvin before he kills life as we know it.

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6. Moon (2009)

Moon

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Director: Duncan Jones

Cast: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott, Rosie Shaw, and Kaya Scodelario

The Plot

Sam Bell works for Lunar Industries, the sole employee based at their lunar station, where his primary job is to harvest helium-3 and send it back to earth periodically. The contract with Lunar Industries is for three years.

Direct communications with the earth are impossible. Sam’s only interaction is with GERTY, a computer whose function is to look after Sam’s day-to-day needs. He gets to communicate with his family through pre-recorded videos only.

Three years is a long time to be isolated, and when nearing the last weeks of his third year, Sam starts to hallucinate.

His mission has always been to return to his wife Tess and his daughter Eve. Trying to ignore the hallucinations of a woman in his seat and his sudden health issues, Sam heads off to mine more Helium-3. As he drives in his lunar module, he sees the woman again and crashes into a harvester.

After recovering in the infirmary, he heads off to the harvester to see if he can fix it. What he discovers in the crashed rover makes him doubt his whole existence, sanity, true identity, GERTY, and Lunar Industries.

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7. Arrival (2016)

Arrival (2016) - Movie Poster, Size: 24 x 36 - Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner

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Director: Denis Villeneuve

Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whittaker, Mark O’Brien, and Tzi Ma

The Plot

The aliens have landed! Gigantic spaceships have landed in twelve locations across the earth. The problem is that we can’t understand their language, and by failing to communicate successfully, we don’t actually know if they are friends or foes. This situation makes the trigger-happy militaries around the world nervous.

The U.S. Army recruits expert linguist and language professor Dr. Louise Banks to find a way to communicate with the extraterrestrials. Her mission is simple: Find out why they are here, or we go to war. Regular meetings with two of the aliens assist her in compiling a record of the aliens’ “language,” which consists of a series of drawn circles.

With time running out and fellow nations getting ready for some war action, Louise takes a chance that could threaten her life, as well as the whole of humanity.

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8. Edge Of Tomorrow (2014)

Edge of Tomorrow

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Director: Doug Liman

Cast: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt, Bill Paxton, Brendan Gleeson, and Jonas Armstrong

The Plot

An omnipotent alien race, called the Mimics, invades and annihilates most of Europe, leaving London as the last resistance. The Mimics are practically invincible, and humankind stands helpless, doomed to be removed by force from the planet we call home.

General Brigham has plans to attack France, expecting to defeat the Mimics, and orders Major William Cage to cover the invasion. Major Cage declines the assignment and threatens General Brigham to expose the casualties of these wars.

For his troubles, Major Cage is arrested, desertion being the charge, demoted to a private, and assigned to fight under the command of Sergeant Farell based in Heathrow. When the unseasoned Cage is sent on his first mission, he manages to kill an Alpha male and gets sprayed with the alien’s blood, after which he dies a quick death.

Cage wakes up the next day, and to his surprise, he relives the same day as the day before, before he “dies” again. He is caught up in a Groundhog Day scenario. Cage tries to fix the “previous” day’s mistakes, and slowly but surely, he gets better at combatting the ferocious alien race.

During one of the battles, he meets Sargeant Rita Vrataski and is told to meet her at the base when he wakes up. It turns out that she has also killed an Alpha and that its blood has given him the ability to reset time. It’s up to these two to find the Mimic’s leader, the Omega, who hides behind the scores of fighting aliens.

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9. The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)

Invasion of The Body Snatchers Movie Poster (27 x 40 Inches - 69cm x 102cm) (1978) Style C -(Donald Sutherland)(Brooke Adams)(Veronica Cartwright)(Leonard Nimoy)(Jeff Goldblum)(Kevin McCarthy)

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Director: Philip Kaufman

Cast: Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, Jeff Goldblum, Veronica Cartwright, and Leonard Nimoy

The Plot

On a far, far away planet, a strange lifeform in the shape of gel-like spores drifts up into the atmosphere, slowly making its way to earth. As these alien spores enter our airspace, they are swept downward in a rainstorm, where they grow on our plants, taking the shape of small pods with a pinkish flower in the middle.

When Elizabeth Driscoll finds one of these strange pods, she takes it home to show her live-in dentist boyfriend, Dr. Geoffrey Howell. She can’t find this particular flowering pod in any of her botanical books, so she assumes it must have been cross-bred with two different species.

Shortly after bringing the pod home, Geoffrey begins acting strangely, as if he is someone else or, worse yet, something else. Elizabeth tells her co-worker, Inspector Matthew Bennell, of Geoffrey’s change; however, he prefers to look for a rational explanation. Soon Matthew is also observing a difference in many people and admits that something is seriously wrong.

When one of his friends, Jack Bellicec, shows him disturbing evidence of what is going on, Matthew is now in a race against time to stop these aliens from taking over the human race.

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10. Stalker (1979)

Stalker 1979 American €“ Andrei #Tarkovsky €“ Movie Cinema Poster Art Printgifts for Fan Lovers Posters No Framed

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Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

Cast: Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, Anatoliy Solonitsyn, and Nikolay Grinko

The Plot

In an unnamed country, near a depressing city, is a strange place called the Zone. The Zone is located in a forbidden area, which the government has declared a no-go zone, sealing it off with barbed wire and patrolling soldiers. Inside the Zone, there is supposed to be a magical bunker, the Room, where people make wishes that come true.

When inside the Zone, nothing is as it seems, and people wishing to find the Room require the help of a guide called the Stalker. The Stalker has the necessary mental gifts to navigate this everchanging and mysterious landscape. Two men, a writer, and a professor enlist the help of the Stalker to get them to the Room.

The goal is to find enlightenment and inspiration. What they will find instead is the ultimate truth. Change is the only constant in the Zone, and it’s not always for the better.

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11. Predator (1987)

Predator (1987) Steelbook

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Director: John McTiernan

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, Kevin Peter Hall, Elpidia Carri, and Jesse Ventura

The Plot

Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer, and his hand-picked crew, deploy to a tangled jungle in Central America. Their mission is to locate gunned-down airmen while eliminating scattered pockets of guerrilla soldiers in the area.

Dutch’s elite team is unaware that an unidentified spacecraft has just breached earth’s atmosphere landing in the same jungle. When they find mutilated bodies that have been ritualistically killed in a macabre fashion, the sense that someone, or something, is hunting them for sport.

Whatever is hunting them acts like a chameleon, blending in with the forest and taking trophies from the soldiers he kills. The “alien” hunter is intelligent and very dangerous. The roles have been reversed. Dutch has become the prey, and whatever is hunting them the Predator.

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12. Sphere (1998)

Sphere

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Director: Barry Levinson

Cast: Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Coyote, Live Schreiber, and Queen Latifah

The Plot

When Dr. Norman Goodman is called out to a location in the Pacific Ocean, he believes a plane has crashed. Dr. Goodman specializes in psychiatry, especially dealing with crash survivors. When he is dropped on a naval ship, he sees astrophysicist Dr. Ted Fielding and biochemist Dr. Beth Halperin but cannot find out why they are also on the ship.

The ship’s captain, Harold Barnes, briefs them that the plane crash is a spacecraft buried under 300 years of coral. The contact team is further bolstered with the addition of a mathematician, Dr. Harry Adams.  After a medical examination, the group heads off into the water, taking a sub to the crash site habitat. Edmunds and Alice Fletcher man the habitat.

Fitted in dive suits, they walk across the ocean floor to the spacecraft. Once inside the craft, they split into two groups. One group finds English texts and advanced metallurgy.

The other group discovers a human skeleton, a flight recorder displaying dates from the future, and a holographic display indicating the ship traveled through a black hole.

Lastly, the team finds the Sphere in the cargo hold. The metallic sphere doesn’t reflect their human bodies but everything else in the room. As the crew prepares to go back to the surface, alarms start going off, and they are just in time to see Harry enter the Sphere.

When they get a message on the communication systems from a Larry, the Sphere is communicating with them directly, so the trouble starts for all involved.

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13. Alien (1979)

Alien (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

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Director: Ridley Scott

Cast: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerrit, John Hurt, Ian Holm, and Harry Dean Stanton

The Plot

Commercial space towing vehicle, USCSS Nostromo, is on its way home when Mother (onboard state-of-the-art A.I. super-computer) detects a distress signal from a nearby inhospitable moon, Archeron. Mother wakes up the seven-member crew from their deep sleep to investigate.

When Captain Arthur Dallas, together with navigator Joan Lambert and executive officer Thomas Kane descends on the celestial body, LV-426, they discover a relatively intact spacecraft. On further inspection, they find that the ship is filled with a hive colony of alien origin.

Mother deciphers the original distress call and finds it a warning, not a cry for help. When one of the eggs is disturbed, they quickly realize that they are not alone on the ship. Something has made its way onto the Nostromo, and it is alien in nature.

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Conclusion

The primary instinct of any life form is to survive. Human life sits on top of the food chain when it comes to earthly inhabitants. But what will happen when alien life finds its way to earth?

Will we survive as the dominant species? The movies listed above give us a few scenarios of how that match-up will play out.

Enjoy the movies!

References:

Reel Rundown: Top 12 Nightmarish Movies Like ‘Annihilation’

The Cinemaholic: Movies Like Annihilation | 12 Must-See Similar Films

Comic Book: 7 Movies to Watch If You Liked ‘Annihilation’

IMDB: Annihilation (2018)

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