Vivarium is a sci-fi horror film directed by Lorcan Finnegan. It is produced by John McDonnell & Brendan McCarthy and stars Imogen Poots & Jesse Eisenberg as a young couple, who get trapped in a strange off-putting neighborhood while looking for the ideal home.
Things that worked
The concept was intriguing. It was unique and got me hooked right off the bat. The performance of Imogen Poots was remarkable, and I genuinely rooted for her to escape.
I also loved Jesse Eisenberg’s performance. In particular, there is a scene where he can’t take it anymore and locks the boy inside a car, and it felt real.
I feel I must mention the performance of the young boy ( Senan Jennings). His performance was so amazing that I absolutely despised him. Just like Jesse Eisenberg’s character Tom, I too was completely annoyed by his shrieks and woof-woofs.
The sound design was extremely well-done. The creature sounds, the shrieks, the echoes, all of it helped a lot in building tension and suspense. Kristian Eidnes Andersen’s haunting soundtrack was a big plus, and it certainly helped sustain the tension built by the stellar sound design.
The film’s production design was extraordinary. It didn’t feel like a low budget sci-fi film, and I was thoroughly impressed by their use of resources. I liked their minimalistic approach to the look of the homes. It added a lot to the film’s ambiguity and made the neighborhood feel strange and off-putting.
Things that could have been better
Both the main characters didn’t have much of an arc, and I thought they could have put a lot more effort into developing the character arcs.
Although the film’s themes like the endless cycle of life and dehumanization seemed interesting, they weren’t fully explored, in my opinion. The film’s ending felt flat and didn’t quite justify the movie’s grander themes.
Verdict – (3/5)
Overall, Vivarium is a unique sci-fi movie with an intriguing concept and great performances from all of its cast members.