Imagine being trapped in the same house for life, where no one else lives around you. Everything in the world seems strange and fake; The sun is fake, the clouds are fake, and the food and drink are too. Oh, and not only that, you also have to raise a child who is more fitting to be called a monster.
Somehow, such an insane image was successfully translated by Lorcan Finnegan and Garret Shanley into the basic idea for the Vivarium film . Finnegan, who also directed the film, drew inspiration from the many housing complexes in Ireland that were abandoned after the country's economic crisis.
The Vivarium combines the thriller and science fiction genres . The film was first screened at the Cannes Film Festival on 18 May 2019 before being widely released on 27 March 2020. The word Vivarium itself, which literally means a box containing living things that resembles their natural habitat, illustrates the general concept of this 97-minute film.
The Vivarium features the collaboration of Imogen Poots and Jesse Eisenberg, who play the two main characters in the film. Apart from the two, this film also stars Jonathan Aris, Senan Jennings, and Eanna Hardwicke.
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The young couple Gemma and Tom are planning to buy their first home. In their quest to find their dream home, the two visit a real estate office .
There, they are greeted by Martin, a strange-looking and behaving real estate agent . Martin is promoting a suburban residential complex called Yonder and volunteering to drive them directly to the site.
However, upon arriving at Yonder, Gemma and Tom soon find themselves trapped in it. They try to escape by various means from the strange maze-like housing complex, but always fail.
A mysterious message and shipment arrived a few days later. The message contains orders for Gemma and Tom to raise a terrible child as a condition of getting out of there.
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The Vivarium is here to offer an innovative and complex concept about an imaginary world. Finnegan intends to make Yonder a parable of the issues that millennials face in the form of social pressure and their fear of living a boring life.
It is quite understandable why some people have a hard time enjoying the Vivarium films . Not only were Gemma and Tom frustrated by the situation they were in, the audience felt the same pressure.
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Vivarium is not the kind of film whose plot we can easily guess. The interactions between Gemma and Tom became increasingly devoid of emotion as they spent the days at Yonder.
For the most part of the film, the Vivarium displays a strange greenish color that is sickening of the buildings in that surreal world. The dim lighting that seems to dominate the film's color scheme adds to the feeling of discomfort that is constantly present throughout the film.
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On the other hand, Poots and Eisenberg prove their performance as talented actors in this film. They are the souls that make the horror of the Vivarium world truly grisly. The appearance of Senan Jennings, at a very young age, as a monster child also deserves a special spotlight.
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The Vivarium tries to disturb the psychic side of the audience through the sickening reality in the imaginary world that is being presented. The main strength of this film, which comes from the visual design and acting of the cast, gives a feeling of discomfort throughout the film through a surreal atmosphere. Vivarium is another proof that even thriller films (although not as solid as Get Out (2017) and Us (2019) ) are able to contain important social issues in them.
METAMORPHOSIS FILM REVIEW (KOREA, 2019) - KOREAN HORROR THAT GIVES A DIFFERENT TOUCH TO THE THEME OF EXORCISM
Among the various films that hit box office hits in South Korea in 2019, the horror film Metamorphosis is one of them. Just four days after being released on August 21, 2019, the film has raised $ 4.3 million from viewers in its home country. Metamorphosis's international revenues alone amount to more than $ 12 million.
South Korean films seem to be trying to explore the theme of exorcism or exorcism in their horror genre. A number of South Korean horror films such as The Priests (2015), The Chosen: Forbidden Cave (2015), The Wailing (2016), and The Divine Fury (2019) have returned to this classic theme in recent years.
In 2019, the film Metamorphosis, which is originally titled Byeonshin, also tries to carry a similar story. Kim Hong-Sun is the director of this 113-minute film.
Meanwhile, included in the Metamorphosis cast are Bae Sung-Woo, Sung Dong-Il, Jang Young-Nam, Kim Hye-Jun, Cho Yi-Hyun, and Kim Kang-Hoon.
However, a failed ritual that results in the death of a girl makes Joong-soo feel responsible.
After the incident, Joong-soo's bad reputation made his brother's family, Gang-goo, also get ridicule from residents in their neighborhood.
However, their new life begins to be disturbed by various terrible events. Their next door neighbor is a strange man who likes to collect fresh animal carcasses.
Apparently, the evil spirit that Joong-soo was trying to get rid of from his last ritual is now targeting his brother's family.
The demon has the ability to change shape and disguise himself as a member of the family. To make matters worse, the spirit begins to create hatred and divide the Gang-goo family. Gang-goo's family then tries to contact Joong-soo and asks him to help them before it's too late.
Metamorphosis seems like an attempt to add a new twist to an exorcism theme that has been used repeatedly in horror films. Instead of focusing on these mystical rituals, this film tries to emphasize the story of the spirit that can change shape.
The choice of the title of this film, which on the other hand is quite unique, illustrates the focus to be displayed. Metamorphosis, a term that has been used more frequently scientifically, basically means a change in form.
In fact, the idea of displaying this kind of supernatural power makes the premise of Metamorphosis very interesting. Horror movie lovers look forward to a ghost who not only tries to harm the main character, but is also able to trick them psychologically.
Unfortunately, this premise appears less than optimal in its execution. The major loophole in Metamorphosis is its ineffectively written story line.
Metamorphosis's biggest problem is the significance of the secondary story in this film. For example, the story of the strange neighbor that doesn't really have the essence of the whole plot. If you remove it, this kind of distraction can actually make the audience focus more on the terror in the Gang-goo family.
After all, at least Metamorphosis has chosen the right conflict by highlighting the dynamics among the family members of the main character. This film tries to relate the spirit's transforming ability and its consequences for the integrity of the Gang-goo family.
Not only that, the makeup and visual effects of Metamorphosis also honestly managed to make a possessed character look quite scary.
However, apart from a different concept in the narrative aspect, there is no new breakthrough in the visual and sound processing of Metamorphosis . We can still find many jumpscare tricks that are common in horror movies.
Metamorphosis offers story ideas that are actually relatively new and different in the horror film genre. The ability of evil spirits to manipulate the emotions of the main characters can be an interesting aspect of storytelling to explore. If some of the nonessential elements of the story could be removed, there would probably be more room to show the internal conflict among the Gang-goo family. Even so, in some parts, Metamorphosis really feels quite creepy
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