Whenever more than one or two film reviewers use the same phrase and talking points, I immediately recognize that either they are hoping to score points with a particular studio or director or they are lazy. “Intelligent sci-fi we’ve come to expect from director Alex Garland…” – yeah, the guy who had the unmitigated nerve to make Ex Machina, which was really idiotic! Now, I can understand the difficulty some might have in relating to sci-fi concepts which recall It Came From Outer Space, where what appears to be a meteor (but could’ve been a spaceship) crashes to earth, because I have an uneasy response to an alien invasion set to Crosby, Stills & Nash. This entire movie is told in flashback (a la Invasion of the Body Snatchers but without that sense of paranoia or dread) when a biologist, Lena (Natalie Portman), returns from her excursion beyond the gelatinous barrier called The Shimmering where her Army husband had been missing for the past year. She needs to discover what happened there: did some creature kill them or drive them insane, and why does the area keep expanding, disrupting all communications? In what could’ve been a plausible origin story for DC Comics’ Swamp Thing, it’s not that its story is “too intellectual,” but mostly too time consuming without the benefit of a payoff.