Proving that there’s no concept too “high-concept” to make into an arty, indie horror/sci-fi crossover, the first trailer for Vivarium arrived today. Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots as a young married couple searching for the home of their dreams, they stumble upon the labyrinthine neighborhood of their nightmares. And then they can’t get out. And that’s pretty much it!
Sure, there’s a creepy salesman, and sure, they’re eventually given a mutant baby and told that they have to raise it in order to be released (bet it grows up into that same creepy salesman), but the meat and potatoes of “trapped in a place and unable to find our way out” casts a definite Twilight Zone vibe over everything. Combined with the dystopian feel of their identical (but abandoned) neighborhood, it’s also easy to be reminded of something like David Lynch’s Eraserhead. And of course, the definition of “vivarium” sort of gives things away on its own: “An enclosure, container, or structure adapted or prepared for keeping animals under seminatural conditions for observation or study or as pets; an aquarium or terrarium.”
This isn’t the first time that Eisenberg and Poots have worked together, appearing as recently as last year in The Art of Self-Defense as members of the same karate dojo. Here, it looks like sparks will once again fly, but mostly as the two wills grind up against each other in an effort to survive the ordeal of essentially being held prisoner in a suburban hellscape.
Directed by Lorcan Finnegan, Vivarium premiered at Cannes in 2019 and has reviewed pretty well (87% on Rotten Tomatoes), although it seems to have flown largely under the radar so far. Perhaps that’s why the trailer rather pathetically touts its own Rotten Tomatoes score with a rising ticker, which seems … a little desperate, even when you have good news to report. Regardless, we’ll probably hear more about Vivarium as it approaches a limited U.S. release in theaters and VOD on March 27, 2020. Check out the full trailer below.