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Vivarium | 50 B Movies To See Before You Die

This week on the B movie docket is Vivarium

B movies are the glue stuck in between all the other genres, oftentimes refusing to conform to any particular genre presets. Some but not all of the hallmarks of a B movie include scripts that read like they were written by a room full of eighth-graders, poor visual effects, cringe-inducing dialogue, low budget production design, and zany plot contrivances. You’re aware of the hallmarks, right? B movies often reek of amateur flair. Thought you were about to watch a great white shark hunted in dramatic fashion like only Steven Spielberg can deliver? Nope, this is Sharknado.

Why do we love B movies? I think B movies are comforting. You know what you’re about to watch is bad. If you’re fortunate it may be so bad that it’s good. You’ll often scratch your head trying to work out the plot. Out of the many good films you’ve seen, I bet you can talk with more vigor about the worst ones you’ve seen. They’re unforgettable. There’s something comforting about that I think. Besides they’ve been around just as long as the movie industry.

Believe it or not, chances are there’s a B movie for you. So I compiled a list of 50 B movies you must see before you die. No decade is off-limits. No rating is too taboo. For the next 49 weeks, I will introduce and recommend a B movie for your viewing pleasure. Yes, these are exciting times indeed my fanatical friends.

WEEK 26 – Vivarium   

Welcome to week 26 of 50 B Movies. I’d like to call this week Hell Week. Not to be confused with the certification offered by the US Navy, but to be correlated directly to the hell of a time I had watching Vivarium. I laughed, cried, and I was horrified. Buckle in for this B movie because it is one wild ride.

The Title

I get a kick out of the B movies with the titles that are so on the nose that I can smell the cheese dripping from the screen. Vivarium is not a cheesy B movie. But rest assured it is a B movie. It has one of those on the nose titles. There is a small cast, a will to do more with the imagination than with effects, and most of all monsters.

Like most B movies, Vivarium features cringe-inducing and disturbing scenes. But with a title like Vivarium. You may not know what you’re getting into right away. So, let us look at the definition of vivarium: an enclosure, container, or structure adapted or prepared for keeping animals under seminatural conditions for observation or study or as pets; an aquarium or terrarium.

That sounds like a trap.

The Story

This film is recent. Released in 2020, Vivarium features Batman V Superman’s Jesse Eisenberg, and 28 Weeks Later Imogen Poots. The film press describes it as a psychological horror film. That is an accurate assessment. There is in fact a bunch of psychological stuff on the screen the first time you watch it. The horror becomes more apparent the second go around. Why the second go-around? Well, the closest thing I can equate it to is watching The Sixth Sense for the first time ever. That mind-blowing twist necessitated a rewatch of the film.

Vivarium goes from some very funny moments to being something that could have been dredged up from the subconscious of HP Lovecraft. Dare I call Vivarium Lovecraftian? Certainly. It features a couple played by Eisenberg (Tom) and Poots (Gemma). They are house shopping. After meeting a realtor who promises to take them to see a suburban community unlike any other. They take the drive to see their dream house. All is well. Until all is not. I am tight-lipped to tell the rest to prevent spoiling the surprise.

Scary

How scary is Vivarium? Before we go any further you must keep in mind it features psychological horror. So sadly, there is nothing as never seen before as a zombeaver. But what Vivarium has in store is a special kind of horror. They type of horror that sticks with you like walking through cobwebs. It’s the type of horror that makes you want to look where you cannot possibly see. The same sort of mind-shattering Cthulhu stuff Lovecraft was writing about. There are horrors out there that do more than go bump in the night. Vivarium’s tale makes a truly sane person question some things.

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