Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Movie Review: Vivarium

Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, 2019
IMDb listing

Pros: creepy, psychological horror

Cons: some annoying parts, very slow moving

A young couple are trapped in a strange subdivision and told they’ll be released once they raise a mysterious child.

I watched this film knowing nothing about it ahead of time and rather enjoyed it. It’s a slow moving horror film, with some great anxiety producing moments and a claustrophobic feel. There are also some science fiction elements.

After I finished I was surprised to find it advertised as a sci-fi triller. It’s not a thriller, by any stretch. It’s psychological horror dealing with the uncertainty of what’s going on and the growing horror that the child they’re raising isn’t human.

The cuckoo reference at the beginning was a bit heavy handed, but definitely primes you for the creepiness of what’s coming.

I think the film would have benefitted from having a bit more set up with the couple, perhaps seeing them check out another house together before getting trapped so we see more of how they interact when times are good. While I thought Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots did a great job over all of making things seem off, I didn’t feel they had much chemistry as a couple. I felt like their relationship was already falling apart before the film started so their drifting apart during the film didn’t impact me that much.

Senan Jennings, the actor who played the younger version of the boy, was brilliant. He’s unsettling and the right kind of slightly off in performing human actions to be creepy and alien. Though his screaming did get on my nerves and I couldn’t understand why the couple didn’t try to discipline him in some way to stop that. At the same time you can see that they’re trying to maintain a detached attitude towards the boy by only interacting with him as much as they have to.

The ending was a bit trippy and open to some interpretation.

Not sure I'd see it again but I'm glad I saw it.

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