Movie Review: Vivarium

April 27, 2020

Written by Kelli Marchman McNeely

Kelli Marchman McNeely is the owner of She is an Executive Producer of "13 Slays Till Christmas" which is out on Digital and DVD and now streaming on Tubi. She has several other films in the works. Kelli is an animal lover and a true horror addict since the age of 9 when she saw Friday the 13th. Email:



You would think that a brand new subdivision would be an ideal place to start a future, but that is not the case in Lorcan Finnegan’s Vivarium.

When a young couple, played by Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, enters a real estate office they get more than they bargained for after finding themselves trapped in a neighborhood. Unable to leave until they raise a mysterious child, the couple finds them fighting for their lives and their sanity.

Vivarium is unlike any movie I’ve ever seen. The way Finnegan and co-writer Garret Shanley manipulate your emotions is both subtle and clever, leaving you with an undeniable uneasy feeling in your gut as the story plays out.

Imogen Poots is the heart of Vivarium. I was so impressed by her performance. She captured her character Gemma’s every emotion so well and made the movie feel real. You really could almost feel her pain. Poots has fantastic range.



Eisenberg’s crotchety character Tom was less impressive. Tom handles the couple’s new reality worse, becoming a completely broken man. As he retreats into himself he forms tunnel vision, obsessed with one task, leaving Gemma with the burden of raising the strange and utterly annoying child on her own. Unfortunately, I found Eisenberg’s performance a bit bland.

The main theme of the film is alienation, alienation from the world and the alienation in Tom and Gemma’s relationship. Their relationship brought to mind the strife of parents with a child with autism or disability when one parent is left to be the caregiver and the other checks out of the situation. Resentment is then formed between the two, driving them further apart. But hey, that’s just my opinion.

There is sci-fi undertone to Vivarium that remains throughout the film that plays a huge part in the end, revealing the real reason Tom and Gemma have been kept captive. However, it comes second to the psychological terror they have faced.

There were sections of the film that felt slow but not terribly. Otherwise, Vivarium is a great film. Genre fans are always begging for new unique films, Vivarium fits the bill and is a movie you must see.

Set to arrive on Digital March 27th and on Blu-ray™ (plus Digital) and DVD on May 12th from Lionsgate, Vivarium is an intense and psychologically disturbing film that leaves you wondering what you would do if you were put in the same situation. Considering the movie overall, I’m scoring Vivarium as a 4 out of 5. Vivarium is definitely worth watching.





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