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In Annihilation (2018), the main character, Lena, lives in a house outside of the area known as "the shimmer" which the groups are sent to investigate. However, there is a scene inside the shimmer where a very similar looking house seems to exist, but Lena doesn't seem to notice the similarity. The camera shots alone show an intended similarity or reference between the two houses even if every detail isn't exactly the same. So what is the director telling us here?

Outside shot

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Stairs

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Living Room

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  • You say "identical", I say " a quick glimpse at the three windows of each house in the first three photos tells you they aren't identical, and the other photos also show plenty of differences; at most they're similar, but so will plenty of houses like that be." – BCdotWEB Oct 7 '18 at 8:20
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    @BCdotWEB I'm sorry but there is clearly an intended similarity between the houses on the part of the director as evidenced by the identical camera shots. Ok maybe identical isn't the right word. Question edited to say "similar", which was the point of the question if you read it. Not to argue semantics. – sanpaco Oct 7 '18 at 8:53
  • It appears that what I noticed was in fact intended by Alex Garland as he mentions in an interview - "You might notice the tattoo on Oscar Isaac's character's chest. You might notice the physical construction of the house that they find inside Area X, and the house of the family home. All sorts of just odd little filament lines that can be drawn together." – sanpaco Oct 7 '18 at 18:55
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From an interview with Alex Garland and Oscar Isaac by Cinemablend, Garland confirms that the similarity is intended.

With hints of Kubrick and Tarkovsky, Alex Garland's Annihilation is a serious mind-trip of a movie. It has a high concept plot -- a group of scientists enter a mysterious zone to discover the origins of a strange phenomenon -- but by the end of the story it successfully bends your brain into a pretzel. In a purposeful way, it's a movie that is meant to inspire debate about its meanings and themes, but as I recently learned from the writer/director, audiences will get a lot more out of the movie on a second viewing.

I asked the two men if the movie was specifically designed so that audiences will get new readings in repeat viewings, and Garland said that that is absolutely the case -- adding that there are things that movie-goers won't notice until the second go-round.

After discussing the conversation between Lena (Natalie Portman) and Daniel (David Gyasi) at Johns Hopkins at the start of the film, Alex Garland namedropped two more little mind-blowers that you may not have seen in Annihilation this past weekend:

"You might notice the tattoo on Oscar Isaac's character's chest. You might notice the physical construction of the house that they find inside Area X, and the house of the family home. All sorts of just odd little filament lines that can be drawn together."

Having now seen Annihilation a second time personally, I can confirm that these are two very cool details. For starters, the tattoo that Oscar Isaac's Kane has on his chest is a bear (y'know, the creature in the movie that screams like a human and winds up tearing Anya's face off). Also, the house that they discover at the end of the second act -- the one with all of the flower people -- has an interior that looks exactly like Lena's house.

Source Interview

There have been other discussions about this detail online such as in this reddit thread

I believe this was included to hint at and foreshadow the theme of the doppelganger at the movie's ending. The being in the lighthouse created an doppelganger of Kane while the real one went insane and killed himself with a phosphorus grenade. Then Lena meets her own doppelganger which mirrors her movements. The house, the tattoos, etc, they are easter eggs and elements of foreshadowing.

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