Sometimes all a movie needs is two people in a room. Or, in Vivarium's case, two people in a seemingly infinite suburban neighborhood with a baby in a box on their doorstep. (It also doesn't hurt that those two people are Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots (his recent partner in crime in the well-received indie hit The Art of Self Defense).
This Irish sci-fi horror hybrid earned high praise at Cannes last year and it's finally releasing in the U.S. in March. So here's everything you need to know about Vivarium, from the release date to the plot to what early reviews have to say.
When is the Vivarium release date?
Vivarium releases in the U.S. in theaters and on-demand on March 27, 2020. It premiered at Cannes Film Festival last year on May 18, 2019 and was announced all the way back in May 2018. That's a long journey from reveal to release, but hopefully, it's worth the wait.
Who's in the cast of Vivarium?
Vivarium stars Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots as young aspiring homeowner couple Tom and Gemma. Other minor roles are played by Danielle Ryan and Sherlock's Jonathan Aris. Curiously, Eisenberg and Poots co-starred in another movie together, the dark indie comedy The Art of Self-Defense (2019).
Eisenberg is best known for his Oscar-nominated star turn as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. He also played Lex Luthor in Batman v Superman. Poots has horror chops from her work in the 2015 film Green Room.
What's the plot of Vivarium?
Vivarium follows Tom and Gemma as they visit a subdivision called Yonder looking for a house to buy. They're taken to the labyrinthian community by a mysterious real estate agent named Martin, who promptly disappears, stranding Tom and Gemma. They drive around looking for an exit, but keep finding themselves exactly where they began: House #9. After their car runs out of gas, they decide to stay in the house and find a box of food on the doorstep.
Tom and Gemma later find a baby on their doorstep. They raise him as their own, but soon it's obvious this isn't an ordinary child and their attempts to escape lead to disturbing realizations. It's also unclear how much time passes both in the trailer and in the movie. Does the plot of Vivarium cover many years, or does time move differently in Yonder?
For those looking for a play by play of the film, there's a detailed plot summary on the film's Wikipedia page — but beware, it contains major spoilers.
What do the Vivarium reviews say?
Vivarium's sitting pretty at 83% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics drawing parallels to everything from Charlie Kaufman and Black Mirror to the "Mac and Dennis Move to the Suburbs" episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Variety gave it a mixed review, calling the film "a starkly minimalist sci-fi parable of dehumanization. But the movie leaves audiences every bit as numb as the characters are supposed to be."
While some may enjoy the ennui of the film or interpret it as director Lorcan Finnegan's choice of tone, the mood of the movie seems to match its material, for better or for worse.
Is there a trailer for Vivarium?
Yes! You can watch the mind-bending trailer here.
Vivarium releases in theaters and digitally on March 27.