Vivarium is a 2020 science fiction thriller film directed by Lorcan Finnegan, from a story by Finnegan and Garret Shanley. It stars Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg.
The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 18 May 2019. It was released on 27 March 2020 in the United Kingdom and Ireland by Vertigo Releasing and in the United States by Saban Films.
Young couple Gemma and Tom want to purchase a house. They visit a strange estate agent, Martin, who tells them of a new development called Yonder. Gemma and Tom drive out to the development with Martin where the houses there are identical, suburban homes. The place is silent, empty and otherworldly. Martin shows the couple around house #9 and then vanishes. Gemma and Tom attempt to leave Yonder, but become lost; every route returns them to #9. The car eventually runs out of gas and they decide to stay the night in #9.
The next morning, Tom climbs onto the roof to see if he can spot a way out of Yonder. He sees that the houses of Yonder seem to stretch into infinity. The couple decide to follow the artificial looking sun, hoping it will lead them out if they stay on course. The couple, however, are still led back to #9. They find a delivery box filled with prepacked food and other necessities. A furious Tom sets #9 ablaze, hoping to attract attention. The couple fall into a strange sleep outside a rebuilt #9 and awake to find a tiny infant with instructions: “Raise the child and be released.”
Two months have passed and the infant has rapidly grown to the size of a seven-year-old boy. He incessantly demands attention and closely observes the couple when he is not absorbed by strange patterns on the television. Living with the boy and their imprisonment takes a psychological toll on the couple. Their physical well-being also worsens. Tom discovers that the soil of Yonder is made from a seemingly artificial substance. He starts to dig a hole and becomes obsessed. Digging makes him feel as if he has a purpose, but the hole just gets deeper and deeper. When he hears noises at the bottom of the hole, he continues digging.
Tom’s physical and mental health deteriorates further. Tom attempts to harm the boy, but Gemma intervenes. Gemma attempts to understand their predicament by engaging with the boy. She discovers that he is incapable of imagining things. Tom’s emotional distance pushes her closer to the boy. One day the boy vanishes, only to reappear with a strange text book. Gemma asks the boy who gave the book to him and he shows her by taking on a disturbing physical form.
Time has passed as Gemma and Tom have grown weaker. The boy has grown into an adult and Gemma and Tom reunite in their fear of him. The boy leaves the house every day and Gemma and Tom do not know where he goes. While digging, Tom finds a withered corpse in a body bag and weakens to the point of death. Gemma begs the boy to help and he provides them with a body bag. Tom dies and is flung into the hole. A vengeful Gemma attempts to kill the boy but he escapes into a bizarre, subterranean corridor. Gemma follows and tumbles through parallel homes where other young couples live lives of similar despair. Gemma is then spat back out into #9. After a final act of verbal defiance, Gemma dies. The boy buries her in the hole with Tom and leaves Yonder. He later becomes an estate agent, replacing Martin.
- Jesse Eisenberg as Tom
- Imogen Poots as Gemma
- Jonathan Aris as Martin
- Danielle Ryan as Mom
- Senan Jennings as The Boy (younger)
- Eanna Hardwicke as The Boy (older)
- Lilith Fury as Woman in window
In May 2018, it was announced Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots had joined the cast of the film, with Lorcan Finnegan directing from a screenplay he wrote.
The film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 18 May 2019. Shortly after, Saban Films acquired US distribution rights to the film. It was released in the United States on 27 March 2020. On the same day, the film was released by Vertigo Releasing in the United Kingdom and Ireland in cinemas and on digital.