North American premiere
Selection 2019

Vivarium

Directed by Lorcan Finnegan

Hosted by Director Lorcan Finnegan

Credits  

Official selection

Cannes Critics Week 2019, Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival 2019

Director

Lorcan Finnegan

Writer

Garret Shanley

Cast

Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Eanna Hardwicke, Jonathan Aris, Senan Jennings

contact

Métropole Films Distribution

Denmark, Ireland, Belgium 2019 97 mins OV English
Genre Science-FictionDramaThrillerHorror

“Refreshingly original… Finnegan twists suburban banality into something altogether horrifying and unnerving”
– Bradley Warren, THE PLAYLIST

“Hauntingly weird… A smart and gripping yarn”
– Stephen Dalton, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

“Skilfully follows in the footsteps of many a provider of unexpected tales, from the classic TWILIGHT ZONE to the recent BLACK MIRROR, with some Roald Dahl, Ray Bradbury and David Cronenberg in the mix.”
- Jan Lumholdt, CINEUROPA

Schoolteacher Gemma (Imogen Poots) and her boyfriend Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) are madly in love and looking to buy a home. They meet with a rather unusual real estate agent (Jonathan Aris), who pitches them on a new suburban development by the name of Yonder (located, he says, “near enough, and far enough”). They follow him out there, driving behind as they watch the streets gradually evolve into labyrinthian rows of identical houses. They’re being shown Number 9. It’s not a starter home, they’re told. They soon realize that the agent appears to have left them there. He’s gone, as is his car. Fed up with the whole experience, Gemma and Tom get in their car and drive off. And off. And off even further. Somehow, with all the cookie cutter homes, they can’t figure out how to find their way out of the area. Worse, after all the driving, no matter which turns are tried, they keep finding themselves back at Number 9. Situations proceed to get especially strange. And deeply, deeply frightening.

Irish filmmaker Lorcan Finnegan’s haunting sophomore feature, following 2016’s acclaimed WITHOUT NAME, VIVARIUM had audiences captivated at its recent debut in Critics Week at Cannes. Like an especially tense and imaginative TWILIGHT ZONE episode, with shades of dark satire addressing the strains of home ownership and parenthood, the film is as unsettling as it is allegorically potent. A Ballard-esque fever dream that’s very much about how we can be hurt by the ideals we’ve been conditioned to strive for, directed with invention and style. Poots and Eisenberg are fantastic here (oddly enough, they also star opposite one another in this year’s THE ART OF SELF-DEFENSE), and the film consistently surprises, building to an emotionally harrowing resolution that will floor all comers. This is smart, scary sci-fi for desperately broken times. – Mitch Davis