Vivarium (2019) A Review

Well, this was a zany, weird and incomprehensible 90 minutes.  I don’t know that I understood the point of it.  But I had a really good time watching it, for the most part.

Certificate: 15

Director: Lorcan Finnegan

Screenwriter: Lorcan Finnegan, Garret Shanley

Starring: Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Senan Jennings

Genre: Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Reviewed by: Pearl

Well, that was a totally odd way of spending the first 90 minutes of my week.  I am not opposed to weird movies in general, I enjoy when people try and do something different.  And this sure was different.  But for the most part while I really did enjoy the general creepy atmosphere, and Eisenberg and Poots gave some amazing performances, I don’t know if I really understand what I just saw.

Young couple Gemma and Tom are looking to uy their first home together, so get roped into visiting a suburban neighbourhood by the worlds creepiest estate agent.  Once their they are presented with a literal cookie cutter neighbourhood.  Every house is exactly the same down to the last detail.  After they are ditched by the creepy agent they try to head back to town, only to find they can’t leave the neighbourhood.  They keep driving in circles and end up right back outside the house.  Forced to stay in the house, they then find a box containing a baby outside their door with a simple instruction, ‘Raise the child and be released.’

Two thumbs way up for out leading actors here.  Poots and Eisenberg do a spectacular job in this film, their performances are amazing.  The last film I saw Poots in was ‘Black Christmas’ so I am glad to say that she has redeemed herself to me with this film.  As both characters slowly start to lose their sense of self, we see them fall further and further into a state of mental disturbance.  Their portrayals here are one of the reasons I was so compelled to keep watching.

Another great plus for this film was the cinematography and atmosphere.  You may not a single clue what is going on for most of the film, and there is a lot of filler in between key moments to show the development o the characters, but you can’t take away from the shear creepy feeling this film has, and at the same time how freaking beautiful it is to look at.   Although nothing really sinister starts to happen until towards the end of the film, and I do mean the last half an hour or so, the feeling of dread and expectation are rife throughout the entire film.  If this film was meant to be telling a cautionary tale of how, although suburbia looks gorgeous, it is secretly a hell hole on earth, this certainly got it’s point across.

Sadly, this is where the film started to lose me a bit though.  I sat through the whole thing waiting for the big reveal, the explanation that comes at the end.  And while I am OK with films with open endings, this film didn’t explain anything.  At all.  Not what the point of the experiment was.  Who these kids are,  Why they are basically kidnapping people and killing them in order to raise these kids?  And if the whole point is for them to sell the houses only to die and be replaced by the next clone then what is the point?  The whole thing is a perfect set up, and no pay off.

If I am wrong, and I missed the point entirely please, for the love of god, explain it too me.  Coz I got nothing.

Vivarium is available to stream from Amazon UK now!

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