• Strictly Films

Vivarium; Grade: B


Vivarium tells a story of a couple named Gemma (Imogen Potts) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg). The couple plans on getting a house, as the house market is booming as they hope they don’t miss out. Gemma and Tom meet with a housing agent, as they traveled to look around the house they seek. While looking around the house, the agent vanishes as Gemma and Tom were bound to flea from the premises. Only problem is... Gemma and Tom have been going around circles, leading them back to the same house, until they ran out of gas. The couple can not escape this unusual neighborhood. Now given with a purpose, the couple then receives a baby in the box, as they have to raise it in order for them to be release from this place. Witness a couple going mad, trying to raise a child in a place where no escapes are provided... What a perfect timing to release such a relatable film during our time of nightmares!


The Cinematography was pretty solid, it’s a nice visual looking film, with lovely shots and solid usage of color pallet. I enjoyed the simplicity of the sets including the houses, the hole Tom created over a cigarette, and the unknown world underneath the concrete. The Score was solid, I enjoyed the music composed in this film. The cast all in all I thought they did a nice job. Imogen Potts had a solid performance as Gemma, I honestly felt bad for this character the most due to her strong heart and unwilling to try and kill this monster they were handed with. Jesse Eisenberg I thought was fine as Tom, a lot of people were picking on this casting choice, but honestly I felt he was just fine. There has been a discussion on Red Letter Media, where Mike and Jay talked about a certain issue they have with the main characters. Once they’re in this house with this child, their personalities completely switched. I honestly can see the uncertainty, however I don’t think this is a flaw. Sometimes people’s personalities do change, when given a different circumstance, causing to be completely different people. A great example is my mom is at peace in her household, while my dad can get a bit aggravated being in the house hold. But when it comes to flying on a plane... Both personalities switch places. My dad is honestly very peaceful when attending a flight, while my mom’s anxiety goes off the roof due to her slight fear in flying. That’s why I don’t see this much of an issue, though Gemma may feel lackadaisical for nature and the well being for a baby bird’s death, she becomes a caring being when caring for a child. While Tom caring for the baby bird, he becomes not only lackadaisical in caring for a child, but wants to kill that child due to the fact it’s driving him crazy... It sounds bad on paper, but trust me you’ll understand why while watching this film. Senan Jennings and Eanna Hardwicke both played a pretty good job playing the child in this story, whether it was young or old.


I do have a couple flaws. I felt the story can feel a bit repetitive sometimes, as I would like to explore the world in which this child explores, while Tom and Gemma can’t. By the end of the film, I start to realize there is not much of a point in raising this child for the real world, other than luring couples into their own death. I get this felt more of a metaphor towards the unwanted desire in living in a suburban house hold, doing what is normal as one can feel completely drained in this lifestyle... However I still don’t understand the purpose in luring these couples to raise a child delivered in a box, just to do the exact same thing without a given purpose?


This film reminds me of Wayward Pines Season 1 preferably, I really enjoyed that season as I felt that’s some of M Night’s best work. Given that vibe, I actually enjoyed Vivarium. I like the whole concept of this film, it’s so bizarre yet very intriguing. It’s like watching a couple whom is young and free, getting hit with reality of just how complicated owning a home and raising a child of their own... Only it’s the complete opposite of what they want. I appreciate the fact this film has a sense of humor, as this was even funnier than the comedy I just watched before. Whether it be the goofy nature of the sales agent, Tom and Gemma flipping off their kid good morning, or having an SOS on their roof wording, “Fuk U”... Some very good natural laugh out moments. The world of Vivarium is one that is rather engaging, once the weird moments happen. We only see two rare moments including the boy showing his real side in a game of pretend with Gemma or Gemma attempting to murder the boy, as the world under the concrete was freaking dope! That’s why I’m kind of underwhelmed at the fact the film doesn’t let the viewer more inside this strange world, that only the boy can access. Vivarium offers quite a few things. It offers a well told story, laughter, and certainly making the audience thanking God they don’t have a child during this whole quarantine.


Overall, Vivarium is a solid film. I recommend checking this out on V.O.D. or a rental at Red Box. So I have unfortunate news to share with you all. After finishing this film around four in the morning, I headed to bed as I watched Red Letter Media briefly discussed this film. About a few minutes later I heard cries from my father outside the room, as I had no idea what was going on until I realize there was only one thing that would make father cry... My Grandmother. Sadly enough it was indeed that, my grandmother has passed away that morning at ninety years old. It’s a sad moment in our family’s lives, however we should always think on a positive note: She’s in a much better place, far far away from negativity/hatred our world has been so accustomed to. As for the future in reviews it’ll go on moving forward, the art of film helps with the grieving process, as I look forward to discussing films during this difficult time. Thank you for the support I’ve received from my family/friends recently I appreciate that very much so, R.I.P. Grandma, may God Bless her pure soul up in heaven. -Mitch Smietana

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