Written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg (yes, that last name should sound familiar), INFINITY POOL is a sci-fi horror film that I really enjoyed but would not recommend to 90% of the people reading this review. It’s weird in all of the ways I love, cerebral, a movie you have never seen before, and one of those movies you have to completely buy into from the very beginning. But it’s also grotesque, strange, provocative, and a movie that you can’t turn your brain off to watch. The film takes huge swings and if you give it a chance, I challenge you not to come away from the movie enjoying its originality, phenomenal performances, and serious WTF moments.
Disclaimer: If any part of you thinks it’s a good idea to watch this film with a parent, or God forbid a grandparent, I would like to caution you against that.
This is a movie that you should go into knowing as little as possible. But to give you a little… James (Skarsgard) and his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) are on a lavish vacation in the fictional country of Latoka. James is hoping this time away will give him inspiration for his next book. But the couple’s vacation is changed forever when they meet Gabi (Goth) and her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert); Gabi and James have a strong initial connection when she claims to be a fan of his work. Despite Latoka’s known corruption and security issues, the couples risk venturing outside the resort’s walls to have fun. But when James accidentally kills a citizen by hitting him with their car, the couples are confronted with the country’s eye-for-an eye justice system. The victim’s family is now allowed to kill James… but it doesn’t have to be this James. Enter the clones!
INFINITY POOL is the ultimate midnight movie. Its eerie cinematography and twisty storyline creates an atmosphere that is in complete contrast with its posh WHITE LOTUS-esque setting. From the outset, Cronenberg and cinematographer Karim Hussain make it clear that something isn’t right and the tension builds and builds until it finally comes to a head. I love that Cronenberg has such big ideas for a movie like this and that the film’s distributor, Neon, didn’t hold his creativity back despite some :ahem: risky scenes. Through a fresh, thrilling sci-fi lens, the film explores the uncomfortable, darkest sides of humanity and how the rich can get away with so much at the expense of everyone around them.
The film’s originality is a critical component to its success, but the only reason it comes together like it does is because of the phenomenal performances from Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth. Goth has proven herself to be the horror genre’s most talented new scream queen, and I love that she chooses roles like this that allow her to show her enormous range. I’ve never seen her do the same thing twice, constantly challenging herself from performance to performance. When Goth is in a scene, you can’t take your eyes off of her because she is absolutely fearless. Not to mention her delivery of the line “where do you think you’re going you little baby” is instantly iconic; no one does unhinged like her.
Skarsgard is also excellent in the film, taking on a more soft-spoken role that almost apologizes for the physicality he usually brings to roles like THE NORTHMAN and TARZAN. I love that he goes back and forth between leading man in bigger studio films to interesting niche roles like this. He is a character actor at heart and that shines through here. His character has the most growth throughout and it was interesting to see his character’s destructive evolution.
INFINITY POOL is definitely not going to be for everyone, especially your more mainstream audience members. I hate to inform you the creepy masks are probably the least disturbing element of the film; so take of that what you will. I enjoyed the movie more and more as I got deeper into its lore and understanding of the characters, particularly because I love that Cronenberg has a distinct voice and style that makes me excited to see what he has coming next.
My Review: B+