Total Annihilation: The most terrifying moments in Alex Garland’s movies
Alex Garland first found fame in the 90s with his acclaimed novel The Beach. Since then, he’s gone on to put pen to a number of screenplays including 28 Days Later, Never Let Me Go, and Sunshine. Last year saw the debut of his second directorial feature Annihilation, starring Natalie Portman. And of course, who can forget his first shot at directing, with the stunning sci-fi mystery Ex Machina.
Whether it’s on the run from the scariest zombies in cinematic history or embarking on an outer-space mission to save the world, there’s no denying Garland’s talent to shock and scare. We’ve decided to take a look at Garland’s most fearful movie moments. But be warned: there are some serious spoilers. Enter at your own risk!
28 Days Later (2002)
The scariest moment in this flick is undoubtedly the tire-changing scene – you know, when they crash in the tunnel, only to face getting torn apart by a gang of ravenous zombies. First come the rats, then the panic, then the flesh-eating beasts. Definite heart palpitation material.
There are a fair few traumatic death scenes to choose from in this 2007 sci-fi thriller, where the central characters journey into space to save the sun from imminent death. The most jarring has to be poor old Harvey (Troy Garity), who tries to jump from one spaceship to another without a suit and doesn’t quite make it. In under a minute he freezes and becomes so brittle his arm shatters like an icicle. Not cool.
28 Weeks Later (2007)
The opening scene . . . my God, that opening scene. You know, where Robert Carlyle’s running through a field while on the horizon dozens of flesh-eaters close in on him? One of the most tense scenes in zombie-movie history. Wah!
Never Let Me Go (2010)
This scene’s not so much scary as it is incredibly harrowing: the moment Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) try to plea for a deferral only to find there’s no such thing. The pair – clones made to benefit the human race – finds out the purpose of The Gallery where they’re forced to stay is not what it seems at all.
Ex Machina (2015)
In Garland’s directorial debut, a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected to participate in a groundbreaking experiment by evaluating the qualities of a humanoid artificial intelligence. If you’ve seen it you’ll agree the most jaw-dropping moment has to be Nathan’s (Oscar Isaac) death at the hands of the disarming AI (Alicia Vikander) and Kyoko (Sonoya Mizuno).
Elon Musk and Ray Kurzweil had better keep artificial intelligence in check or we might suffer a similar fate in years to come.
Even the author of Annihilation has described Garland’s adaptation as “extremely horrific”, telling the story of a biologist who signs up for a dangerous secret expedition where the laws of nature don’t apply.
Without giving too much away (the film will be available on Netflix from February 22), the scariest moment in the sci-fi thriller involves the entering of an alien terrain called “The Shimmer”. Mind-bending and shocking, this film is definitely worth a watch.