“Infinity Pool,” directed by Brandon Cronenberg, stars Alexander Skarsgard as James Foster, a writer suffering from writer’s block following the failure of his first book. He rides off the coattails of his wife, Em, played by Cleopatra Coleman, whose father owns the company that published James’ first book.
The couple meets Gabi, played by Mia Goth, a self-described failure as an actress for TV commercials – and a super fan of James and his first and only book. She and her husband, Alban, played by Jalil Lespert, befriend James and Em and invite them to join in on their journeys around the resort.
The couples are on vacation in Latoka, a small country reliant on tourism and agriculture, with very traditional beliefs in terms of punishment. After an accident, James and Em come face to face with this and we very quickly learn how the rules can bend when you have money.
That being said, “Infinity Pool” is nothing new. The rich can dodge the law, the poor suffer the consequences. It’s a kind of tired take with fun lighting and a sci-fi element that drives the story, but all of this seems irrelevant by the final act. Then again, that might be the point. Does anything matter when you have enough money to buy golden blinders?
As always, Goth delivers an outstanding performance. She fully drives the story, as Skarsgard’s James just goes along with whatever she says – if you saw their respective outfits from the movie’s Sundance premiere, this reigns true as an overarching theme of the film. Since Goth is a huge name in (mostly) slasher-horror, it’s nice to see her play such a meticulous character. Every move Gabi makes has a motive, and getting to see the pieces fall into place while Goth holds up a subservient persona is why this is probably one of my favorite performances from her to date.
The film uses intense sexual scenes to emphasize the depravity of the wealthy. And I know this may be a shock to many male horror directors, but sometimes you don’t want to watch a 10-minute orgy scene while you watch a scary movie. The film uses violence along with the shock of the complete disregard of human life as a way to emphasize its point, which eliminates the need for multiple nude scenes to further portray this.
Additionally, these pretty much exclusively feature Gabi, and though she does attempt to seduce James, there are better things we can do with women in horror besides making them strip or allowing men to use them to fix their mommy issues.
Despite its flaws, the movie itself is visually stunning. Between the vibrant, kaleidoscopic visions depicting James’ desires and the sepia-toned farms sitting outside of the resort, this film takes viewers on a journey from one extreme to another.
Though I say this about most Goth horror movies, please don’t see this with your parents. The elongated orgy scene is long enough for the person next to you to be able to watch your reaction to it and formulate their own; so maybe hold off.
“Infinity Pool” isn’t exactly a must-watch for me. The end is a bit lackluster; though it concludes the story nicely, it seems as if there was more to be said in almost every aspect of the movie. Based on what I saw in the trailer, I just expected more than a few heavy-handed metaphors and pretty lights. Either way, Goth’s performance made the film for me, so if you’re interested in that, wait until it comes to streaming to watch.