8th October 2019 8.40pm at Curzon Soho
10th October 2019 8.50pm at odeontcr: Odeon Tottenham Court Road
Sometimes the horrors of life hide in plain sight, so conspicuous that they are impossible to discern. Vivarium, Lorcan Finnegan’s uncanny, one-tone, and slow-burning sci-fi horror flick, prods (never yanks) at festering modern woes.
Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots are a young couple in want of a house. As a gardener and teacher, the fact they are in the market is the first indication that this world is not quite as we know it. Out of luck and losing patience, they stumble upon a Yonder storefront. Pure curiosity leads them to drive with their off-kilter estate agent to Yonder, a new property development. Soon they realise they are trapped inside a suburban maze and are forced to become a nuclear family when a strange mutant baby ominously shows up at their door. Loosely based on the parasitic cuckoo bird, the boy arrives in a brown box with simple instructions for the unwilling parents to raise the baby so they can gain their freedom. Unable to escape, they comply and participate in an unending cycle of supposed domestic bliss.
The Yonder housing site looks halfway between the set of The Truman Show and a Dr Seuss movie. The uniform, pastel-mint houses are bare aside from the essentials. Even the artwork hanging above the mantel has a macabre sense of humour. The clouds are perfectly fluffy, as if they had floated off a Surrealist painting’s canvas. The mutant child’s personality is as detached the perfectly identical houses. Tom’s (Eisenberg) day job is essentially to dig his own grave in the front yard. The highly symbolic and metaphorical film will force you to tease out the mazes in which you yourself are perhaps unknowingly entrapped.
Despite the simple plot plodding ceaselessly forward, Vivarium maintains its wry and caustic humour throughout. Life’s vicious and monotonous cycles are to remain forever on repeat. It’s a bleak and to-the-point film that offers little light at the end of life’s dark and dreary tunnel.
Vivarium does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.
Watch the trailer for Vivarium here: