Mini Review

Vivarium (2019)

Last Watch Date - July 23, 2023
Total Times Watched - Once


I really needed something different after abusing my eyeballs with Wrong Turn 3 and 4. Going into this movie, I knew next to nothing about it. That is to say, I only knew who was in it and nothing more. I didn't look for any reviews beforehand or even a synopsis. I figured hearing "it's weird" was good enough.

Hey, guess what. It's a weird movie! Visually, it had a sort of painting come to life look. Everything was surreal because it wasn't actually real. Or was it? I don't know. It was pretty much a feature-length Twilight Zone episode. I do love the Twilight Zone, so how did I feel about this!?

Let's start with the cast, which is VERY small but pretty important. You have Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg. There are other characters here and there, but the focus is on these two (mostly Imogen) throughout. She's great and Eisenberg was ok. I'm not sure what to say about his performance but he never really hits the dramatic moments for me. I did like him in Adventureland and Zombieland. Maybe if this movie were called Vivariland it would've worked out. Shame on me I suppose for not knowing Imogen before this, but she was so good. It was a captivating performance if I do say so myself.

Story-wise, it's a bit slim. And looking back, you can see what will happen from some foreshadowing early on. HEY WE DON'T SPOIL THINGS HERE, SO I'M NOT GOING INTO DETAILS. But back to the Twilight Zone thing... yeah this would've played better as a 23 minute episode of that or maybe Black Mirror. There's not really much meat on the bones and it drags it out for over 90 minutes. 

The visual aspects of this movie combined with the droning score give it a vibe that feels wrong. It's so close to being right but never quite hits it, which makes your skin crawl a little bit. It was funny seeing the little paintings above the mantle and bed that were of the same room. It's like seeing someone in a t-shirt with their own face on it. I like it.

Something I wish they would've gone deeper into is the dynamic between Gemma (Imogen) and Tom (Jesse). I can imagine there being incredible highs and lows in the scenario they're placed in, but they never explore it. It's all very superficial, leaving this feeling like they were sniffing in the right direction but never quite found it. I wish it played out a bit better because I want to recommend this as a weird watch.


This is a tough one. It's not a bad movie, but it's also lacking in some fundamental ways that make it difficult to recommend. It's a movie I will likely forget seeing soon and that sucks. Wasted potential here, but if you are feeling a bit generous, give it a go and see if it grabs you.

6 Cuckoos out of 10

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