(director/writer: Lorcan Finnegan; screenwriter: story by Garret Shanley/Shanley; cinematographer: MacGregor; editor: Tony Cranstoun; music: Kristian Eidnes Anderson; cast: Jesse Eisenberg (Tom), Imogen Poots (Gemma), Jonathan Aris (Martin), Danielle Ryan (Mom), Senan Jennings (The Boy), Eanna Hardwicke (The Boy), Olga Wehrly (Young Woman), Molly McCann (squeamish Girl); Runtime: 97; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Brendan McCarthy, John McDonnell; Saban Films; 2019)

“I would avoid this film, just as the couple should have avoided that nut job real estate agent.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A one-joke black comedy, sci-fi hybrid horror pic, efficiently directed and written to be surreal by Lorcan Finnegan (“Without Name”), but not good enough to overcome its faults. It’s based on a story by Garret Shanley, who is also co-writer.

In the unnamed city, in an unnamed country, a new real estate development called Yonder is hustled by Martin (Jonathan Aris), a creepy robotic-like real estate agent, to the American andyman Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and his kindergarten teacher English girlfriend Gemma (Imogen Poots). To get to Yonder, the couple follow him in their VW to the not too far or too close development site. All the empty houses look alike and the streets are deserted. Martin suddenly splits without telling the couple after showing them house number 9 and the couple find they can’t leave and are left there cut off from the world without communication. A box then appears outside their house with tasteless food. The next day an infant boy (Senan Jennings) is delivered in the box with a message: raise him if you want to get out. In a few weeks the infant becomes a bratty adolescent (Eanna Hardwicke), who is so loathsome and whiny as he asks for his real parents and looks like a miniature Martin having a shrieking fit.

Though the play-acting is fine and it’s skillfully executed as an allegory, the story is as annoying as a nightmare and reveals no great insights about suburbia or the young couple. I would avoid this film, just as the couple should have avoided that nut job real estate agent.

      Eisenberg and Imogen Poots in Vivarium