‘Ex Machina’ director’s next film explores a dreamy otherworld

Natalie Portman leads the cast of ‘Annihilation.'

Frequent Danny Boyle film screenwriter Alex Garland's directorial debut, the lauded 2015 sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, was a delightful and discomforting take on humans and the robots they create. His next film Annihilation comes out February 23rd, 2018, but check out its first trailer to see Natalie Portman explore a future United States starting to be overrun by a dreamy, otherworldly wilderness.

Annihilation is an adaptation of the first book (of the same name) in the Southern Reach trilogy, an award-winning science fiction series written by Jeff VanderMeer. Portman plays protagonist Lena, a biologist tasked with investigating Area X, a portion of the southern United States cordoned off from the outside world by a strange rainbow-slick membrane. Inside, she delves deeper into a surreal landscape, which may have played a part in her husband's (Oscar Isaac) death after he returned from an expedition into Area X. Tessa Thompson and Jennifer Jason Leigh also star, though they have tragically little screen time in the trailer.

While Annihilation adapts the first part in the book trilogy, Garland didn't make the film with two others in mind -- it'll be a standalone movie, he told Entertainment Weekly.