Vivarium (2019). Photo: Vertigo Films

Vivarium (2019)

“All we wanted was a home.” - Gemma

A tight thriller with a dash of surrealism, Vivarium is a small film with enormous ideas. A young couple searches for a starter home but finds that their dream dwelling is not what they expected.

Touching on human's non-stop desire to live comfortably, with the perfect family, in comfortable dwellings (that all look the same), eating tasty, prepackaged foods, there is an effective (and not too subtle) commentary going on here about the American dream. We're all just consumers searching for the next thing to idolize, purchase and then consume. The rise of Pinterest and Instagram certainly cement that point, and let's face it; social media is not going away any time soon.

The struggles of parenting are also a massive theme of Vivarium. As humans, we want all of these beautiful shiny objects and the attention of others. When we become parents, our children demand those objects as well—all the time. Life becomes more fulfilling but also more complex. In Vivarium, the responsibility to provide and care for others is non-stop, and the "hamster wheel" can be exhausting. In Vivarium, this is not a fun roller-coaster ride that one can enjoy and then hop off. It's a long, tortuous wandering through a haunted house without doors.

As in something from a classic JG Ballard sci-fi story, Vivarium entertains and thrills, with dashes of black comedy peppered in to counter the horror. It is a perfect thriller for those in the mood for a dystopian freak show. The great news is that when this ride is over, you can hop off and go back to real life. (B)

Directed by Lorcan Finnegan
Starring Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris, Danielle Ryan
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction

Photo: Vertigo Films

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