Cleaning Out My Film Rentals. #1 Vivarium (2019)

After gaining some buzz at festival screenings I was keen to see this intriguing sci-fi horror starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots. They play a couple who are looking to set up a home in an idyllic new development. After discovering they may be going in a loop around said development when viewing property things very quickly escalate. Vertigo Films were giving this a full theatrical release but given the current world climate it got dropped onto digital platforms instead and I checked it out.

The film starts off strong. The set-up is not that far gone from something you might see in any random sci-fi/ horror anthology, but Eisenberg and Poots give solid performances and the film sells the claustrophobia of its initial premise very effectively. Then at the 25-minute mark a new and obvious plot element is introduced, and things get a lot let interesting extremely fast. It is not even that the remaining hour after the reveal is particularly awful it is just the kind of thing you have seen a million times before in these stories. It quickly becomes obvious that the filmmakers were not in particularly interested in paying off the promising setup rather playing into the cliches of the sub-genre the film family plants itself in after the end of Act 1. That said the first act is strong enough to give the film a recommendation regardless and certain audiences will definitely be more into where the narrative goes as it heads towards a conclusion. It is just disappointing that the film pivots to such a well-worn direction after that first act.

6/10

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