Imogen Poots Dives Into the Psychological Horrors of Vivarium [Exclusive]

Imogen Poots, who viewers may know from movies such as Green Room, 28 Weeks Later and Black Christmas is back with a new movie this week, Vivarium, which will be arriving as a new VOD option for those looking for something to watch while being stuck at home. Coincidentally, this happens to be a movie about two people who end up, unwittingly, stuck in a seemingly ideal home in something of an oddly timely sci-fi thriller. That certainly wasn’t the plan originally, but given current events, it just worked out that way.

Vivarium, directed by Lorcan Finnegan, reunites Imogen Poots with her Art of Self-Defense co-star Jesse Eisenberg. They play Gemma and Tom, who are looking for the perfect home. When a strange real-estate agent takes them to Yonder, a mysterious suburban neighborhood of identical houses, they can’t leave quickly enough. However, when they try to exit the housing development, each road takes them back to where they started. They soon discover their search for a dream home has put them smack dab in the middle of a terrifying nightmare.

RELATED: Jesse Eisenberg on His New Movies, Resistance and Vivarium [Exclusive]

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Imogen Poots in honor of Vivarium‘s release. We discussed why the movie is timely, why she is so attracted to genre filmmaking and her desire to do more comedy, amongst other things.

We’re here to talk about Vivarium, which is your new movie coming out. In it, you play Gemma. Can you tell us a little bit about Gemma and what she’s up to in this movie?

Imogen Poots: Sure. Yeah, I think Gemma, in a way, is representative of the every woman. If you must have an every man then you have an every woman and I think you watch her undergo circumstances that are supposed to be absurdist and surreal, and watch howa human may cope with the responsibilities of that, and what she has to confront in that time. Ideas of motherhood and isolation, which we can all relate to right now, and really a sense of existing in an entirely different realm, just at the blink of an eye. I’d say it’s a sci-fi film in some respects, for sure.

Yeah totally. It’s got that. But then it’s also, I wouldn’t call it a straight-up horror movie, but it definitely has some of that vibe to it. And you’ve done a lot of genre filmmaking in the past. What is it that attracts you to horror and that genre? Or is it that you just keep finding yourself in these roles by happenstance?

Imogen Poots: The more I think about it, I have considered that before. I think I’m just really attracted to the people who are attracted to genre. I think that a lot of filmmakers who want to do something which is explorative, often genre gives you the opportunity to explore something metaphorical, or something other outside of kind of every everyday life. Often these people are nutcases, but they’re also really excellent filmmakers. So I think I want to be in the company of them, and I want to try and tap into something unique or something that hasn’t been done before. Often, genre movies allow for great platforms for female performance as well. I would talk about Sigourney Weaver in Alien or something like that. You can really go to town, just exploring more than they appear on the page, I think with horror films.

You have obviously done things outside of horror. For me, one of my favorite things you were in was Popstar, which I think is one of the most underrated movies in a long time.

Imogen Poots: Oh! I love that film!

So good. It’s so good. And you were so funny in it. You were so good in it. Do you want to do more comedy? Is there a reason you haven’t done more comedy? Because I feel like you’re so good at it.

Imogen Poots: That’s so nice! It’s just like you and my boyfriend who think that. Yeah. I would love to, but there’s a lot of people out there who are really, really good at it. I was in the company of royalty on Popstar. I’m sure that there was no way you could be part of that film and not have a brilliant, funny scene. No, I would absolutely love to do some more comedy. It’s important, I think comedy is a lot harder than dramatic acting. I really do. I think it is. It’s so much more nuanced, and it’s also about relevance as well, which is ever changing. I think trauma exists on the same plane consecutively. I think humor is something which is constantly adapting, and changing, and going back. It’s a whole other wheelhouse.

Right now a lot of people, kind of always, but especially right now, are looking for a good distraction. So why would Vivarium make for a good distraction? And who do you think this is a good distraction for? What kind of movie lovers are going to be into this from your point of view?

Imogen Poots: Good question. I know you’re either up for Vivarium right now, or you just want to watch reruns of My So Called Life, which somebody I know is doing. It’s a difficult call. I mean, I watched A Quiet Place last night. I found it really comforting. I thought It was a really excellent film and everyone was brilliant in it. I watched that and I watched The Farewell the night before. I don’t think I could watch something now… I tried to watch a comedy the other night and it just seemed irrelevant to me. It sort of seems like it was where I was that night, but I didn’t feel like I was connecting to something so far from what we’re all experiencing. So I think it may offer some relevance, some, even comfort or catharsis perhaps. It’s something to think about. I think the good thing about Vivarium is that it’s not gratuitous horror or violence. It’s more psychological than that. I think you are seeing two guinea pigs, as it were, trapped,and there are all the things that they’re being exposed to. Gender roles and the housing crisis, but it’s also about, is that paradise to have your food delivered? Is it paradise have TV to watch all day long and to be alone? There’s a lot of questions I think it raises. And also what about society? What happens? Do you still care about things that politicians were caring about before? It’s all of that.

Vivarium is available on Digital HD and VOD on March 27 from Saban Films.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb

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