Vivarium is the sophomore feature from both director Lorcan Finnegan and writer Garret Shanley, who previously collaborated on their first feature movie, the 2016 horror/mystery Without Name.
The core concept of this sci-fi mystery is right there in the title – and if you don’t know what a vivarium is, it’s a small enclosure that mimics the natural environment of the animals being housed within it and is used for observation and study, or for keeping pets.
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and Imogen Poots (Green Room) star as a young couple who become trapped inside a pristine and oddly uniform suburban neighbourhood when they go to view a potential new home. In order to earn their release from this gilded cage they must comply with the increasingly bizarre demands of their captor, the mysterious and creepy realtor (Jonathan Aris – Dracula) they met when first entering the suburb, while struggling with the mental toll their captivity takes on them.
The plot synopsis is as follows:
In search of the perfect starter home, a couple visits a new housing development, and finds themselves trapped in an eerie suburban labyrinth.
Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) are looking for a home, and come across a real estate office that sells homes in the suburban paradise, Yonder. When they decide to go see the house, they find row after row of cookie cutter homes that stretch as far as the eye can see – it’s so perfect, it’s uncanny. Until they try to leave. The uncanny landscape turns threatening as they try to escape the ‘perfect’ neighborhood that manages to constantly change, yet remains frustratingly identical.
Let’s take a look:
This looks fascinatingly bizarre. What really sells me on this movie is its tone because it’s not just bleak and oppressive like the neighbourhood in which our couple find themselves trapped. Instead it hops around as Tom and Gemma run the gamut of human responses to being trapped and experimented upon in such a way, all the while their sanity also begins to fray. I even laughed out loud at that final scene.
What do you think?
Vivarium is due for release in the UK on 27 March.
Last Updated: January 24, 2020