Vivarium (2019)



I read a lot of people were talking about this film and it took me a century to realize it was on Amazon Prime. Imogen Poots is becoming an indie film queen. She’s always fantastic in whatever she does and she’s usually a strong indicator of whether I watcha film or not. With Vivarium its a wonderful idea, that feels like something out of the Twilight Zone. However, it would have worked better as a short TV show episode rather than a 90 minute film.

The film is about a young couple who are looking to buy a house together. They meet with a weird and off putting real estate agent who introduces them to a house on Yonder which is a housing development that is the stuff of suburban nightmares. Every house is identical. The couple find that they can’t leave their home. No matter what they do, they also seem to be the only ones in the development.  They soon realize they must raise a child given to them to leave the house. The film also stars Jesse Eisenberg, and interestingly this is the second time I’m seeing the two leads pairing after The Art of Self Defense which was absolutely amazing.

The set up for the film is amazing. Like I said earlier, its so reminiscent of a very good Twilight Zone episode for the first half and hour or so. The idea, atmosphere, and setting is so good. Once the couple receive the baby the film soon becomes flat and feels like it was drawn out. The film has a really annoying child actor, which is fine because hes the absolute devil. Everything else just becomes repetitive (especially with Jesse Eisenberg’s character) and I feel like the script ran on fumes for a while. I was fine with the ending but the uneven nature of the film hurt it from being much better.

This seemed perfect for me because I love dystopian films with elements of horror. This was fantastic for a third of its running time and then needed much better writing. I would still recommend watching it. I’m sure others might really like it as a whole and I think the idea itself it set up well so its worth checking out. Lets just hope Ms. Poots gets better work because shes underrated. Hell, she was even the best part of a really awful Black Christmas remake.



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