Vivarium Ending Explained: The horrific suburbia that is the unavoidable town of Yonder is the focus of the science fiction film Vivarium, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots, as the young couple is compelled to raise an alien child; here is how Vivarium ends. In the sci-fi thriller directed by Lorcan Finnegan, a young couple finds themselves stranded in a frighteningly identical suburban area that quickly becomes a nightmare.
The story revolves around Tom (Jesse Eisenberg), a gardener, and Gemma (Imogen Poots), a kindergarten teacher, a happily single couple hoping to buy a home. This forces them to see a very odd estate agent, Martin (Jonathan Aris), who entices them to tour the Stepford Wives-style neighborhood with extravagant promises of Yonder’s beauty and perfection. In addition to the positive reviews Vivarium has received on Rotten Tomatoes, renowned horror author Stephen King has also voiced his admiration for the film.
In Vivarium’s Yonder, unending rows of similar houses and roads circle the exact location. Tom and Gemma are left alone by Martin at house number 9, and despite their best efforts to flee, they wind themselves driving in circles. They must consequently remain in the Yonder house.
Tom tries to burn down the house out of frustration after their repeated attempts to flee fail. It appears to have been constructed overnight, and the following morning they find it still standing with a box containing a young boy waiting for them. A note that reads, “Raise the child and be released,” is attached.
Yonder’s nameless child (Senan Jennings) in Vivarium rapidly increases in stature and has a mysterious adult voice that precisely imitates both Tom and Gemma. While Imogen Poots’ Gemma is driven down into a drudging approximation of motherhood, Jesse Eisenberg’s character spurns any attempt at paternity. Until he is fed, the Boy screams like a banshee.
He mimics Tom and Gemma’s every action and won’t let them be alone for even a second. While Gemma tries to care for the infant while still having some autonomy, Tom becomes fixated on their escape and starts digging a tunnel in their yard. What happened to the pair from the Vivarium? What exactly is Yonder, and what does the strange conclusion to Vivarium mean?
What Happens in Vivarium’s Ending
The Boy disappears from Yonder around the conclusion of Vivarium and reappears carrying a book filled with symbols. To find a way out, Gemma tricks The Boy into telling her where he’s been by playing a game, only for him to start morphing into a monster. The Boy suddenly develops into a fully grown adult, like something from a John Carpenter science fiction film.
From dawn till dusk, Tom excavates his hole, and ultimately The Boy locks his “parents” out of the house. Every day he starts to vanish, and Gemma’s efforts to find him are ineffective. Eventually, a corpse in a body bag is located in Tom’s hole. His condition quickly deteriorates, and he ultimately dies in Gemma’s arms.
The Boy returns to them with a corpse bag after declaring it is time for him to be “released.” Gemma is horrified and enraged enough to assault him with a pickaxe, but he manages to get away by pulling up the road like a rug and slipping into an Escher-like subterranean.
Gemma continues and learns that the Vivarium’s Yonder is full of countless parallel universes where couples are trapped in the same circumstances as her and Tom. The alien invasion of Vivarium captures young couples and uses them as test subjects for a gruesome experiment.
Every one of them is sad, with some even considering suicide. After being vacuum-packed in a corpse bag, Gemma is spat back into her world and eventually dies at The Boy’s hands. He throws their dead bodies into Tom’s excavated hole, covers it up, and departs Yonder to return to the real estate business.
Martin is there, aged and close to passing away (though only a year has passed). Before passing away and allowing the new Martin to take his place, he hands The Boy his name badge. The cycle starts over when a couple enters the real estate office.
The Boy’s Identity and Yonder’s Purpose
The most logical explanation for Yonder and the weird Boy is Tom and Gemma are forced to raise an extraterrestrial abduction tale in the vein of AHS season 2. However, this is never made explicitly clear at the end of Vivarium. The conclusion of Vivarium suggests that these aliens age quickly, reaching adulthood in a year and aging from middle to old age in the same amount of time.
To keep the parasitic cycle going, they entrap human couples in Yonder and make them care for their bizarre offspring. The aliens don’t seem to develop any emotional ties with their adopted parents and don’t express sorrow at their passing. The weird language in the Boy’s book and the patterns that emerge on the TV provides additional support for the hypothesis of alien abduction.
This theory is further supported by The Boy’s skulking beneath the sidewalk and horrifying transformation. Both Yonder and the impossibly-shaped place Gemma encounters while attempting to chase the Boy seem to be constructed by aliens.
What Is Martin In Vivarium?
Martin barely appears at the beginning and end of Vivarium, yet his peculiar personality serves a broader function for the narrative. Only after The Boy reaches adulthood are his strange habits, character, and background revealed. Martin and The Boy are both alien children unwittingly nurtured by humans.
Gemma’s slide makes it abundantly evident that many other families presumably struggle to raise their expected offspring. Martin is a prime example of a Yonder “success” story, even though what happens to those kids is never discussed. With the aid of this peculiar life cycle, the extraterrestrial species appear to continue their assault.
Like The Boy, Martin is an alien descendant who was brought to adulthood by a former Yonder family. After Vivarium, The Boy assumes the role of Martin to recruit new victims and become the new Martin.
The Real Meaning of Vivarium’s Ending
At its core, Vivarium is a cliched tale about the oppressive restrictions of a seemingly ideal life that has been mass-produced for profit. The forced ideal is all the harsher because the white picket fence dream continues to be a strong force in society and is getting increasingly out of reach for future generations.
As a relationship ages, there is a heteronormative structure of what they are “supposed to do,” and Tom and Gemma are figuratively stuck in that structure. They were coerced into adopting a child neither wanted and living in a suburban community they loathe.
They are now confined to a life that is both boring and horrible, one that ends in their deaths and the abandonment of their corpses to rot, much like Eraserhead by David Lynch. The parallel realms of Yonder show that they are not the only ones trapped in this nightmare. The white heterosexual, middle-class couples who are the target audience for this fantasy live in this world.
It’s interesting to note that Tom and Gemma never express their curiosity about why they are stranded in Yonder. They carry on because they must. Vivarium’s fascination stems partly from the following: It is acutely conscious of the oppressive demands on people to follow societal norms, even as they grow more improbable and despised by younger generations.
Vivarium explores the complicated subject of fatherhood, while other films like David Fincher’s Fight Club do the same. Being a parent in this situation is like being coerced into a parasitic relationship that will rob you of your life energy.
Tom and Gemma didn’t want a child, but the Yonder society insisted on it. Without them, the Boy who gets older as the days go by is unsettling, unimaginative, and completely powerless. It’s a direct parallel to parenting’s realities. However, most books with this plot show how everything was ultimately worthwhile.
The misery of suburbia has been the subject of many stories, and Vivarium is not afraid to display those inspirations. It’s simple to draw analogies to Blue Velvet. The movie also has elements of various Twilight Zone episodes, and vintage sci-fi horror flicks like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Rosemary’s Baby, and Village of the Damned.
The movie Vivarium dared to portray having children as the worst thing a person could ever do. That is still considered taboo, and Vivarium is blunt about it. Gemma refuses to allow the youngster to refer to her as his mother, even while they are having a touching moment. She tells him in her final moments, “I am not your f***ing mother.” It is a last act of disobedience that verbalizes the lives of innumerable individuals, both inside Yonder and outside of it.
Why Vivarium Blew Stephen King’s Mind
Stephen King tweeted in the year 2020: “I was blown away by VIVARIUM (Hulu). Rich and unusual. I appreciate it if you like it. Don’t blame me if you don’t like it, “and this is probably because many Stephen King book-to-movie adaptations share themes with Vivarium. Pet Sematary, It, It: Chapter Two, Children of the Corn, and even Firestarter are similar to Yonder’s suburban trappings, unseen horrors, and twisted conspiracies.
Vivarium also succeeds in telling a truly original and compelling story about an alien invasion while examining the dark side of some societal norms, even though it was inspired by not only Stephen King’s work but also by the decades of horror films and series that came before it. It’s not surprising that many moviegoers concur with King’s glowing assessment, as seen by Vivarium’s Tomatometer solid score.