Director: Lorcan Finnegan
Vertigo Releasing / Umbrella Entertainment
Vivarium is a debut feature by Lorcan Finnegan (loosely based on the short story ‘Foxes’ by Finnegan and Garret Shanley; Shanley developed it into the screenplay) – and so it deserves a big thumb’s up for the effort. But the simple truth is it falls away, has no third act.
A better move for this would have been to reduce it to 60 minutes of running time and hand it in to Mr Brooker for an episode of his Black Mirror anthology series. It has a similar tone and feel to some of the episodes and trades in exactly that kind of future dystopia and psychological horror.
Gemma (Imogen Poots) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) are house-hunting. A weirdo real estate agent leads them to a suburban enclave they literally cannot escape.
There’s a nasty – almost petty – comment on suburban life and parenthood but it’s worth it for a rather fresh spin on the demon-spawn subgenre of psychological torment films.
The problem with the movie is that it’s at this exact point that the script falls away, has nothing left to give.
We have had a brilliant build-up, a moody, perfect score, sleek set design, muted, beautiful cinematography and it’s well cast with decent, understated performances. It’s all going so well.
And then it just meanders, punch-drunk, to the finish line. And its last third is utterly forgettable, confused, confusing and seemingly pointless.
Which is a shame.
There’s certainly a vibe here for the first half of the film at least.
So I’ll be tuning in for another of Finnegan’s films for sure.