Predictably grim dystopian vision of the near and possible future, where humanity is on its knees and the local flora has a very bad attitude. Without going into the nuts and bolts of it, the eponymous Vesper lives in a dilapidated hut in the middle of nowhere, with her incapacitated father, ailing in bed.
She has to go out into this muddy, hellish landscape where everything went wrong, every day, to scavenge for anything that will make her life, and her father's, even a fraction more tolerable. It's grimy and sloppy and not the least bit pleasant. The whole enterprise smells repellent and there is no escape from a very bleak future. At this point, humanity is fucked, and looking at why, we probably shouldn't blame the planet for having a go at them for the mess they caused in the first place. Karma is a real mucky bitch, it seems.
There is hope, at least. In the form of 'The Citadel' where the privileged, beautiful few, layered in gold leaf, hurl vol-au-vents and roasted swans at each other for fun, for all we know. A place of infamy and joy. But good luck getting there. We are in our grubby grief-hole. And rightly so, by all accounts. Near Vesper's sombre existence there is a small community of highly questionable morals, run by the film's main performance standout, Eddie Marsan. Criminally underused, but that would still be true unless he was on screen the whole time. Throw in a Galadriel wannabe that crash lands from The Citadel and have at it. Suitable directionless chaos ensues as the baddies try to ensure that life doesn't get any sweeter for anyone.
The comparisons are many and varied, not least the Cronenberg overtones, writhing, glistening, faceless things abound, intent on your near immediate demise, given half a chance and a following wind. The societal overtones about how we should just 'sit up and bloody well pay attention' are blindingly obvious, so you're likely to take away the same message you got from Annihilation about global impending doom. It really isn't in any way jolly at all. At least Annihilation looked stupendous in it's unavoidable misery. Here, you'll have much more fun if you like brown. There's lots and lots of brown.