The Suburban Sci-Fi Horror Movie On Netflix Will Leave You Shaking

By Doug Norrie | Published

Step into a maze of mind-bending mysteries and unsettling undertones with Vivarium, now streaming on Netflix. As you embark on this cinematic journey, be prepared for a unique blend of suspense, science fiction, and psychological horror that will leave you questioning the very nature of existence.

Vivarium is a horror movie with sci-fi elements that is now streaming on Netflix

It’s a film that doesn’t just tell a story but prompts you to think, analyze, and reflect. Dive into a world where nothing is as it seems, and every corner holds a new enigma waiting to be unraveled.

Vivarium follows the story of a young couple, Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots), who are in search of a starter home. They meet an eerily persuasive real estate agent who directs them to a new, mysterious suburban neighborhood called Yonder.

But when they attempt to leave, they find themselves lost, unable to find their way out of the seemingly infinite maze of identical houses. In a disturbing turn of events, the couple discovers a baby left at one of the houses with a simple instruction: “Raise the child and be released.”


As the Vivarium days turn into weeks and weeks into months, the couple realizes they are trapped in a nightmarish, artificially constructed environment where the sky is always overcast, the houses are all identical, and there is no way out.

Vivarium on Netflix stars Jesse Eisenbergy and Imogen Poots who are trapped in a suburban hellscape

The child they are left with grows at an unnaturally rapid rate, further adding to their distress. As they grapple with the bizarre reality they’re ensnared in, Tom becomes obsessed with trying to escape by digging a hole in the ground, while Gemma tries to understand and connect with the rapidly growing child.

Their entrapment leads to growing tension and desperation, driving the narrative forward. The true nature of Yonder in Vivarium and the child is slowly revealed, leading to an unsettling climax.

Vivarium Deals With A Number Of Different Themes

Vivarium delves deep into themes of domestic life, conformity, parenthood, and the human yearning for freedom. It serves as a dark commentary on the modern world’s cookie-cutter housing developments and the societal pressures of settling down and starting a family.

Vivarium taps into some of humanity’s deepest fears and anxieties, making its premise uniquely unsettling. Firstly, it plays on the dread of entrapment. The idea of being stuck in an endless loop of identical houses without any hope of escape resonates with common fears of being trapped or confined, whether physically, mentally, or socially.

The maze-like structure of Yonder mirrors the confounding intricacies of life, where people sometimes feel like they’re running in circles without making real progress.

Furthermore, Vivarium delves into societal pressures and norms. The suburban setting symbolizes the conventional milestones and pathways that society often expects individuals to follow: buy a house, settle down, and start a family. Yet, in this case, the narrative twists these norms into a nightmarish ordeal, questioning the very essence of these expectations.

Adding to the horror is the child. His unnatural rapid growth and eerie behavior play on the anxieties of parenthood and the challenges and mysteries of raising a child. The child’s demand for attention, his mimicking screams, and his alien nature turn the joys of parenthood into something profoundly terrifying.


Lastly, the ever-overcast sky and the never-ending uniformity in Yonder create a sense of claustrophobia and hopelessness. The absence of natural elements, like a changing sky or diverse flora, is contrary to human nature’s need for variety, growth, and evolution. By denying the characters these natural progressions, the movie amplifies feelings of stagnation and despair.

In essence, Vivarium magnifies real-world anxieties and embeds them in a surreal horror setting, making the familiar disturbingly unfamiliar and thereby creating a gripping and haunting narrative.

Vivarium is not just another science fiction film, but a harrowing exploration of societal expectations and the very essence of life’s meaning. It raises more questions than it answers, pulling the viewer into its enigmatic realm, challenging them to decipher its myriad of symbolic messages. 

As we follow the nightmarish journey of the Vivarium protagonists, we’re confronted with the disturbing realization of life’s possible futility and the dangers of societal conformity. With its eerie atmosphere, thought-provoking storyline, and compelling performances, Vivarium is a haunting cinematic experience that stays with you long after the credits roll. 

For those seeking a movie that goes beyond mere entertainment, offering a deep dive into philosophical ponderings, Vivarium is a must-watch on Netflix.