When Stephen King recommends something, his followers take notice. The famed horror writer has an excellent track record of highlighting weird and wonderful films and TV shows on streaming networks that he thinks his fans would enjoy. Last year, he raised the profile of the Child’s Play remake by praising its gruesome fun, drew audiences to unjustly cancelled Netflix show Marianne by calling it “very, very scary,” and more recently reminded people of ultra-obscure British sci-fi series Paradox.
His latest pick is recent Jesse Eisenberg movie Vivarium, which he watched on Hulu. Here’s what he had to say about it:
“VIVARIUM (Hulu) blew me away. Rich and strange. If you love it, thank me. If you hate it, don’t blame me.”
Vivarium follows a youngish couple (Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) who are attempting to purchase their first house. A creepy real estate agent brings them to Yonder, a vast complex of identical empty suburban homes and promptly vanishes into thin air. The couple soon realize they’re trapped in the estate, supplied with food but unable to destroy the home or escape the complex. Their only chance of making it out is to complete a seriously bizarre and terrifying task that I won’t spoil here.
The movie premiered in Cannes in 2019 and had a limited cinematic release internationally back in March. It probably would have gone on to a limited domestic theatrical release, too, but, well, you know what’s going on in the headlines. As such, Amazon scooped it up and made it available to all Prime subscribers a few months ago and now, it’s making its way to the various streaming networks.
King’s not wrong when he hints at Vivarium being divisive, but it worked for me. If you’re a fan of Spike Jonze or Charlie Kaufman, I’d recommend giving it a whirl.