Luke McWilliams gives his comprehensive review of the thriller film, Vivarium, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Jesse Poots which is available to stream now.
After seeing the habits of a cuckoo, young teacher Gemma (Imogen Poots) meets up with her gardener partner Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) to visit a real estate agent in a search for their starter home. Once there, a strange estate agent named Martin (Jonathan Aris) convinces the couple to follow him to a new suburban development called Yonder, to show them home number 9.
Suburban horror movies serve as a metaphor for the anxiety and existential dread that conformity and the mundanity of everyday life can bring. The Stepford Wives showed the peer pressures of keeping up with the Joneses, A Nightmare on Elm Street poked through the shallow veneer of the picket-fenced neighbourhood ideal, then Rear Window and The Burbs ripped it down by revealing what the neighbours, and by extension, what anyone, may have bubbling beneath the surface.
Trapped in a never-ending maze of perfect, cookie-cutter replica houses, Gemma and Tom are also trapped in their daily routine and responsibilities; rising with the sun, eating pre-packaged tasteless food and raising a strange child who coldly mimics them as a form of growth. Any greater goal the couple may have is a source of hope, which may, in itself, also be a source of horror.
Verdict: A grim, nihilistic but intriguing mystery which is all too easy to figure out quite early in the piece due to some blunt foreshadowing. Vivarium may have fared better as a vignette ala The Twilight Zone. 3.5 stars.
- Luke McWilliams | themovieclub.net
Vivarium is available now on VOD at umbrellaent.com.au and will be streaming on Google Play, iTunes, Telstra, Fetch and Foxtel on Demand from 6 May.
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