Vivarium (2020) – Film of the Week

The second feature film from director Lorcan Finnegan and writer Garret Shanley. Vivarium not only pays homage to a range of classic science fiction and horror. But also manages to find its own unique voice in what is an unsettling and fresh film. Wrapping the audience in a claustrophobic horror that takes on even greater significance during the current COVID 19 outbreak. As we follow a young couple whose dreams of buying their first home become a nightmare of epic proportions.

Vivarium opens with scenes of a baby cuckoo invading the nest of an unsuspecting new mother. Turfing out the bird’s chicks to ensure their own survival. Ultimately creating an opening scene that reflects a key theme of Vivarium’s narrative from the outset. As the challenges faced by young couples in achieving apparent domestic bliss are laid bare. While core issues of parenthood, belonging and trust are reflected through the prism of isolation, as the joy of domesticity becomes a prison of no escape.

However, within the current self-isolation and quarantine we are all facing. Vivarium transcends many of the themes at its heart, becoming a commentary on the longing for human contact. And dangers of boredom, frustration and isolation.

But aside from the darkly delicious social commentary at its heart. Lorcan Finnegan’s film also packs a powerful science fiction punch. With scenes reflecting the mud sculpting madness of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the humour of The Truman Show. Ultimately achieving what Little Joe struggled to achieve earlier this year. A sci-fi story that reflects the beauty of Tales of the Unexpected and The Outer Limits. While equally never over-stretching its narrative. Joyfully leaving the audience with a range of unanswered questions.

So enjoy the trip to Yonder, the cold, green and decidedly creepy housing estate from hell. But remember, once you become a resident there is no going back.

Director: Lorcan Finnegan

Cast:  Imogen PootsDanielle RyanMolly McCann, Jesse Eisenberg, Jonathan Aris, Senan Jennings

You may also like Brighburn, Little Joe and Around the Sun