A younger couple stumbles into the improper neighborhood whereas house-hunting and finds themselves prisoners within the eternally residence from hell in Vivarium, a surreal science fiction movie directed by Lorcan Finnegan. The movie premiered final 12 months on the Cannes Movie Competition and made its means across the competition circuit earlier than being picked up for distribution by Saban Movies. And it has been garnering fairly a little bit of optimistic phrase of mouth alongside the best way.
There’s solely the vaguest official premise: “A younger couple in search of the proper residence discover themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of similar homes.” However Wikipedia presents this telling definition of the movie’s title: “A vivarium is an space, normally enclosed, for maintaining and elevating animals or crops for commentary or analysis.” It interprets into “place of life,” and it may be a small terrarium, for instance, or one thing a lot bigger, like Biosphere 2. It is fairly apparent that the movie’s suburban paradise is supposed to be simply such a spot.
Imogen Poots performs Gemma, who’s married to Tom (Jesse Eisenberg). They determine to take a look at the house choices in a healthful improvement referred to as Yonder (“It has all you’d want and all you’d need”), and a really creepy actual property agent named Martin (Jonathan Aris) exhibits them round #9. Yonder is mainly a big grid of similar streets full of similar cookie-cutter homes, with the identical cookie-cutter backyards. It calls to thoughts the basic folks track, “Little Packing containers,” popularized by Pete Seeger within the 1960s, about low cost, tiny suburban homes “fabricated from ticky-tacky” that “all look simply the identical.”
Martin appears particularly eager to point out them the nursery, inquiring about their plans for youngsters.
We have seen this type of cynical tackle the conformist horrors of suburbia earlier than: The Stepford Wives (each the 1974 cult horror movie and the 2004 comedian remake), as an example, or the 2017 Matt Damon black comedy Suburbicon. There’s additionally the 1999 episode of The X-Recordsdata (“Arcadia“), the place Mulder and Scully go undercover to research unusual disappearances in a gated neighborhood and rapidly run afoul of the house owner’s affiliation.
There isn’t any HOA in Yonder, apart from the mysterious Martin. In truth, there’s no person else in any respect. Issues take a bizarre flip when Gemma and Tom decide to move on #9 and attempt to go away. They drive round in circles, at all times coming again to #9, till evening falls they usually don’t have any selection however to take shelter in the home.
Step by step, they notice they’re prisoners and grow to be more and more determined, even making an attempt to burn down good previous #9. That is the place the trailer takes one other flip. Gemma finds a package deal, with a child boy inside and an ominous word: “Elevate the kid and be launched.” They do not have a lot of a selection. Luckily (?), the infant grows up inhumanly quick, reaching what appears to be preschool age inside a mere 98 days. However there’s nonetheless fairly a couple of days to go earlier than The Boy reaches full maturity. What’s going to he be by then? And can Martin ever actually allow them to go away this “eternally residence”?
The premise may really feel acquainted, no less than at first, however the trailer appears fairly promising. The thrill is that the Vivarium is way more unusual, intense, and claustrophobic than one may anticipate. And there is even a little bit of humor peppered all through. My favourite second within the trailer: The Boy throws a tantrum when Tom calls him a “creepy little mutant.” His exhausted “dad and mom” collectively give him the finger. And since youngsters are pure mimics, he offers it proper again to them.
Vivarium opens in choose theaters on March 27, 2020.
Itemizing picture by YouTube/ONE Media