Between David Bruckner’s The Ritual and Alex Garland’s Annihilation, this year has already been an INCREDIBLE one for terrifying, wholly unique creature designs. The former film can be found on Netflix, while the latter film, a boldly original near-masterpiece for the sci-fi/horror genre, is available on Digital HD this week ahead of DVD/Blu-ray on May 29.
The majority of Annihilation is set inside “The Shimmer,” an alien-modified realm where nothing is quite as it is in our world. Essentially, the DNA of humans, animals and plants collides inside the shimmer, resulting in mutations that are sometimes beautiful and sometimes completely horrifying. You may, for example, stumble across a field of magical flowers that are from entirely different species but are somehow growing from the same plant, and the serenity may then be shattered by the arrival of A HUNGRY NIGHTMARE BEAR.
The most terrifying scene in Annihilation plays out similarly to the iconic “blood test” scene from John Carpenter’s The Thing, with most of the female leads strapped to chairs as their friend loses her mind and contemplates killing them. And then the aforementioned nightmare bear (nicknamed “Dexter” by the effects team) shows up, turning the terror up to eleven and brutally attacking one of the characters in a kill scene that reminds of the infamous bear attack in The Revenant. But this bear isn’t just any bear. In fact, it’s not entirely a “bear” at all.
Its design inspired by diseased animals, the bear creature in Annihilation is missing large portions of its fur, and a human skull has literally embedded itself into the animal’s head. Again, “The Shimmer” is a place where all kinds of DNA intermingle in simply impossible ways, and the bear seems to be literally absorbing the humans it kills. In addition to the human skull that has incorporated itself into the bear’s own skull, it also emits the death screams of its latest victims, and even has a row of human teeth inside of its mouth.
It’s not okay on any level. Not okay at all.
What we see of the creature in Annihilation is more than enough to send chills up the spine, but if you were hoping to see more of the incredible design, you’ll be happy to know that there’s an entire featurette devoted to the creature’s design and execution on the DVD/Blu-ray. And /Film just got their hands on an exclusive excerpt from that feaurette.
Check out the creature in all its glory below…