Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots play a house-hunting couple trapped in a suburban nightmare in
A young couple stumbles into the wrong neighborhood while house-hunting and finds themselves prisoners in the forever home from hell in Vivarium , a surreal science fiction film directed by Lorcan Finnegan. The film premiered last year at the Cannes Film Festival and made its way around the festival circuit before being picked up for distribution by Saban Films. And it has been garnering quite a bit of positive word of mouth along the way.
There’s only the vaguest official premise: “A young couple looking for the perfect home find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses. ” But Wikipedia offers this telling definition of the film’s title: “A vivarium is an area, usually enclosed, for keeping and raising animals or plants for observation or research.” It translates into “place of life,” and it can be a small terrarium, for example, or something much larger, like Biosphere 2. It’s pretty obvious that the film’s suburban paradise is meant to be just such a place.
Imogen Poots plays Gemma, who is married to Tom (Jesse Eisenberg). They decide to check out the home options in a wholesome development called Yonder (“It has all you’d need and all you’d want”), and a very creepy real estate agent named Martin (Jonathan Aris) shows them around # 9 . Yonder is basically a large grid of identical streets filled with identical cookie-cutter houses, with the same cookie-cutter backyards. It calls to mind the classic folk song, ” Little Boxes , “popularized by Pete Seeger in the s, about cheap, tiny suburban houses “made of ticky-tacky” that “all look just the same .
Martin seems especially keen to show them the nursery, inquiring about their plans for children.