Infinity Pool is in theaters on January 27.
By Elazar Abrahams
In their heavily protected resort, a tropical vacation oasis safe from the surrounding third-world island, married couple Em and James (Cleopatra Coleman and Alexander Skarsgard) make friends with Gabi and Alban (Mia Goth and Jalil Lespert), a suspicious duo who convince them to tag along as they explore what lies outside the compound. That’s how Infinity Pool begins, with that innocent excursion soon leading to accidental tragedy and shocking fallout.
The film is the second feature from Brandon Cronenberg, son of the acclaimed director David Cronenberg. Brandon has clearly been heavily influenced by his dad’s affection for body horror, as most of Infinity Pool’s ick factor taps into that niche. The two hour runtime features lots of flesh wounds, disfiguration, and other nightmare fuel, all of it quite demented. From a horror perspective, Infinity Pool nails its ambiance of terror, relying on disturbing imagery and tense situations rather than cheap jump scares, although there are a few of those. The flick feels very much in line with Ari Aster’s Midsommar or Hereditary.
Cronenberg’s final product here isn’t as well polished as Aster’s catalog though. Infinity Pool’s mysterious and jarring story tries to say something about masculinity, privilege, and those who try to inflict violence while avoiding consequences, but the observations are awfully surface level. Audiences will be able to guess some of the twists way ahead of the movie’s schedule. Still, while the message may only be skin-deep, the visuals rattle viewers to their core.
Fresh off of last year’s double header of X and Pearl, Goth turns in another stellar performance, solidifying her as one of this generation’s finest horror actors. She’s seductive in one moment and crazed in the next, and in the hands of a less skilled performer, her part might sink into camp territory. Skarsgard is just as impressive, mapping a troubled man’s descent into unspeakable wrongs. The script doesn’t allow for a lot of time to emotionally connect to his character, yet he successfully has you rooting for James despite his flaws.
Infinity Pool is not for the faint of heart. The film is explicit and depraved, from psychedelic-fueled orgies to blood-soaked executions. If you think you can handle it, definitely buckle in for a wild ride.
I give Infinity Pool a B+.