White picket fences. Sunny skies. Block parties. Nosy neighbors. Little boxes. Mortgages. Ah, the wonders of Suburbia, the one-time dream neighborhoods that have since become symbols of class signaling, domesticity, and getting trapped in a matching McMansion, popping out a couple of kids until your life passes you by and, dear god, we used to have dreams once, Linda!
Irish filmmaker Lorcan Finegan captures that existential malaise and panic handily with his new oddball fantasy-horror Vivarium, starring Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg as ac couple who gets trapped — quite literally — in a suburban housing complex. When the pair decide to go house shopping, they wind up in an open house that never closes when their creepy-ass real estate agent (Jonathan Aris) disappears and they discover that no matter how long, far, or fast they drive, they can’t get out of the neighborhood, but every day when they wake up, there’s a fash box of supplies outside their door. When a baby gets dropped off with the daily delivery, things start to get really weird.
Vivarium debuted at Cannes last year and was quickly snapped up for distribution by Saban Films, who has finally debuted the first trailer for the Twilight Zone-esque little existential nightmare. I caught Vivarium at Fantasia Fest last year, where it ended up being one of my standout films of the fest and has just sat better and better the longer I think on it. The trailer does a pretty good job capturing the film’s oddball tone and slow-burn dread, but it definitely doesn’t capture quite how existentially bleak it gets (and I’m not crazy about using Rotten Tomatoes scores in your trailers, though I suppose it was only a matter of time.)
Vivarium arrives in theaters an on Digital on March 17. You can check out the first trailer below and for more, read my full review here.
Here’s the official synopsis for Vivarium:
Tom and Gemma (Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) are looking for the perfect home. When a strange real-estate agent takes them to Yonder, a mysterious suburban neighborhood of identical houses, Tom and Gemma can’t leave quick enough. But when they try to exit the labyrinth-like housing development, each road takes them back to where they started. Soon, they realize their search for a dream home has plunged them into a terrifying nightmare, in this taut thriller filled with white-knuckle suspense.