Alex Garland, director of recent sci-fi favorites Ex Machina and this year's Annihilation, prefers not to over-explain what his work "means." Like most directors, Garland asks you to come up own interpretation of the film, including Annihilation's somewhat baffling ending, without his spelling it out for you. That way, you can bring your own experiences and preoccupations, and the film will become more "alive," he said.
If you didn't get a chance to see it in theaters, the Blu-ray and DVD releases are chock full of intriguing and illuminating bonus features about how the filmmaker created the refractions and fractals of the Shimmer, the seemingly unknowable space that changes anyone who tries to explore it.
But even after eating up all that information about the film's astounding visual effects and landscapes, we still have questions, more of the practical and philosophical sort, and Garland was game enough to answer at least a few of them. ("Sorry, that's a fucking crap answer, but it's true," he apologized, when explaining how some things should be left a mystery.) Garland might not tell you how to read the film, but he also won't tell you that you're wrong. Even if you are.