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Vivarium many of us have experienced the initial situation posed by “Vivarium”: being around thirty years Vivarium old, being in a stable relationship and thinking about moving in together. This everyday and universal premise is what Lorcan Finnegan uses in “Vivarium” to create a Kafkaesque and surreal story – his production design is very close to Magritte’s imagery – in which science fiction and horror are mixed. And it is that here, the fact of looking for that desired apartment, in this case a dreamy townhouse with an affordable price, becomes a nightmare from the first visit to the house: a labyrinthine place where the couple played by Imogen Poots ( Best Actress at the 2019 Sitges Film Festival) and Jesse Eisenberg will be trapped in a mysterious way as if they were the protagonist of “El Prisionero”, the enigmatic and great series created and performed by Patrick McGoohan in 1967 and a clear influence for the latter film as a director of Finnegan.

“Vivarium” is very aware of the references it handles, the aforementioned “The Prisoner”, certain nods to Rod Serling from “The Twilight Zone” and a tone of icy satire and nervous laughs very much in the vein of Yorgos Lanthimos from ” Locust”. However, although Finnegan’s intentions are good, the fantasy experiment and the camera horror it poses remain at half throttle. The Irish filmmaker fails to emulate or reformulate the references he uses: he is unable to show Serling’s modesty and class when using genre as a metaphor, and he is not as forceful as Lanthimos in form and in content. Finnegan doesn’t quite use crypticism and the absurd nature of Poots and Eisenberg’s nightmare. What’s more, he gives the impression that he thinks he’s the smartest in the class, looking over his shoulder at the viewer at all times. Something, the latter that, if you hurry me, only guys from the category of Lars Von Trier or Nicolas Winding Refn can afford, to give two examples of crazy talents who may be very pretentious at times, but who have also shown how to laugh at his own airs and tics.