Gemma (Imogen Poots) and Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) are a charming young couple, she’s a grade school teacher and he a gardener. The are looking for a new home together with no luck so far. When they drop into a sales office for a housing estate called Yonder, they meet the very odd Martin (Jonathan Aris). Everything about him is just slightly askew, from his speaking in riddles to his uncomfortably intense facial expressions.
Upon visiting the tract, the Yonder property personifies cookie cutter building methods to a t. Every home looks absolutely identical and Martin has an answer for every question. Midway through the sales presentation on house 9, he disappears, leaving the couple completely on their own. Upon leaving, every attempt to drive their car out of the estate is met with a return to the original departure point, house number 9.
After all attempts to escape prove ineffective, even burning the house to the ground has no lasting effect. When they wake after the conflagration, the house still stands and now a box has now been left for them, a box containing a newborn baby boy. It’s a testimony to the film’s disconcerting effect that all this is only the beginning of the escalation of their strange journey.
The grind of a daily existence with no real change ebbs away all remaining fragments of Gemma and Tom’s sanity and ambition. This reduces them to empty shells, ones that are utterly devoid of any hope or ambition. As the film reaches its climax, it remains utterly bonkers right up to its final frame. Vivarium is a unique experience for a unique time.
Vivarium is now available to view On Demand – currently available via iTunes, Google Play, Telstra, Fetch and Umbrella and will be on Foxtel PVOD from May 6.