(Photo courtesy of IMDb) “Infinity Pool” offers a solid, thrilling experience, while not ever fully reaching its true potential
The name “Cronenberg” appearing as the director of any movie is a reason to either pay attention or turn away. Brandon Cronenberg, son of director David Cronenberg, is the director of “Infinity Pool,” the newest case in point in this hypothesis. He and his father are known for making body horror that pushes boundaries, and there is no boundary that “Infinity Pool” leaves unpushed.
“Infinity Pool” stars Alexander Skarsgård and Mia Goth and follows a couple (Skarsgård and Cleopatra Coleman) who go on a vacation to a seaside resort in an uncivilized country, where they meet a mysterious woman (Goth). In this country, any crime is punishable by death, unless the perpetrator can afford to pay for a cloning process, in which case the clone will be killed instead.
Before the movie even introduces the plot, one of the most sexually explicit moments put to theaters in decades hits the screen, and the absurdity of it all does not let up there. “Infinity Pool” revels in sexual graphicness, disturbing body horror and psychologically tormenting themes. For a casual horror fan, it will probably be too much. For genre enthusiasts, it is nearly a revelation.
Skarsgård and Goth embrace the absurdity of the premise and give their all in their performances. Goth had already proven herself to be a quickly rising star in the horror scene with her phenomenal performances in 2022’s “X” and “Pearl,” and she manages to top herself once again here with the complex and, at times, deranged portrayal of Gabi. Skarsgård’s performance is often a bit more reserved, but he does a stunning job of letting his moments of darkness and depravity seep through.
Films about the dark side of the rich and influential have dominated the recent film landscape, with movies such as “Glass Onion,” “The Menu” and “Triangle of Sadness” being highly acclaimed and garnering widespread recognition. “Infinity Pool” lays safely ahead of the pack in terms of inventiveness and originality, though by the end of the movie, it sputters out before finding its true statement.
A look behind the curtains may reveal the central problem here: a movie directed by and starring people with familial wealth is going to struggle to make an effective damning statement against the culture of the wealthy, no matter how hard they try. With this loss of direction by the end, “Infinity Pool” does suffer in its attempts to be an effective message movie.
The attempts do not completely fall flat, though, as there are some excellent and genuinely humorous digs at the rich throughout. While “Infinity Pool” is, primarily, a horror film, it is also rich with humorous satirization of the rich that lands more often than it misses. While comedy in horror can often result in a disfigured tone, the dark comedic style here often serves to ramp up the tension rather than tear it down, making the tone shockingly balanced. The sheer absurdity of some of the horror sequences also helps prevent a tonal mishmash.
However, for those looking for one of the most visually absurd movies widely released in years, look no further than “Infinity Pool.” With two career-defining performances and a wildly original premise, “Infinity Pool” is an enthralling watch, even when it lags. The ending may be a bit of a head-scratcher, but the journey to get there is too unforgettable to miss.