Vivarium is a very strange and unsettling sci-fi psychological horror film. However this movie will stick with me for a long time. It’s unsettling aspects are rather unforgettable and, as things got weirder, I was sucked into the story more and more. At its core the film is about a couple, Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots), who become stuck in a strange suburban housing development and have to figure out how to escape. Let’s get into the details! Spoilers Ahead!
When Tom and Gemma arrive, they find that they cannot seem to escape this place, even after driving for so long their car runs out of gas and following the sun while trying to walk in a straight line. Everything seems to bring them back to the same house, number nine. Soon a baby is left on their porch in a box, with a note that tells them if they want to escape they must raise the baby. The baby grows much faster than normal and after about 200 days he looks to be seven or eight years old. The child is clearly not human however. He imitates them and their arguments, which is very creepy. He also imitates a dog, screams, and seems to have an adult male voice whenever he speaks. To me, the child is the most unsettling thing in the entire film. Everytime he speaks it is so cringy and disgusting, but I can’t look away. It is fascinating. I won’t give away the entire plot here, but it seems that some other species (most likely aliens) studies humans by trapping them in this hellish suburbia.
I was very much fascinated with the story itself. I wanted to know more about the aliens. I wanted to know why they were studying us. Were they just curious? Did they have a plan? By the end, even though there were many unanswered questions, I was still satisfied. It brings an end to our main character's story and left you thinking about the film long after credits rolled. It seems like the aliens are trying to find a way to imitate our way of life for some reason. Another layer of the film demonstrates how some people can feel about the process of raising kids, working your entire life, retiring and dying. In a way the film is showing the cycle we go through as humans- how it seems our lives are strictly meant to raise children so they can raise children, and so on and so forth. I thought this movie portrayed all of this in a way that I hadn’t seen before.
Vivarium is a rather small film and it doesn’t have the best rotten tomatoes score but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was nice going into the film not really knowing much about it at all. The story was very interesting and I kept getting more engaged as the film went on. If you're looking for something new, unique, interesting and a bit creepy to watch while theaters are still closed, I recommend giving Vivarium a watch.B+
Directed by: Lorcan Finnegan
Starring:Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots, Johnathan Aris and Eanna Hardwicke