Opinion — Review of “Infinity Pool”

Jakob Ross

“Infinity Pool” is the latest horror film by Director Brandon Cronenberg. The film follows James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård) a failed writer who is taking a vacation in a fictional third-world country with his wife in hopes of finding inspiration for his next novel. When James becomes tangled up in a crime, he is ultimately left with two options: be executed or pay a large sum of money to watch a clone of himself get executed. 

“Infinity Pool” premiered at Sundance with an NC-17 rated festival cut. The theatrical cut hitting U.S. screens is rated R, so a handful of shots that included sex and disturbing gore will likely have been trimmed if you plan on buying a ticket. For this review, I have only seen the theatrical cut, although I am not sure how much of an impact the NC-17 cut will have on my opinions of this film.

There have been many discussions about how “Infinity Pool” is dazzling with its visuals, but very lacking with its screenplay. I heavily disagree with this statement. I find the film’s screenplay to be wildly original and full of substance. It is one of the easiest-to-follow films I have seen as of late. 

While it is very straightforward, it will greatly push the boundaries of what you may normally want from a horror movie. “Infinity Pool” is one of those movies where it either instantly clicks with you or it misses entirely.  

Many scenes do an incredible job of putting the viewer into James’ mind. There is an uncomfortable and unforgettable scene within the first 10 minutes that leaves our protagonist cold and sweating with guilt. Because of the way it was shot, you feel just as guilty as James because the camera did not leave his face throughout the entirety of that scene. 

As the film continues to progress, you are forced to watch as James’ life increasingly becomes cold and dark. Cronenberg did a great job painting such a twisted picture of James and his world as he is slowly overcome by hysteria and delusion. 

Despite this, you feel a strange attachment to James throughout the entire film. His anxieties become your anxieties, and his regrets become yours as his eyes somehow plead with you through the screen. Even though his character does not say much throughout the film, he never once feels underwritten, and this is thanks to an incredible performance by Skarsgård. 

This review would be incomplete without mentioning Mia Goth, who undoubtedly steals every scene that she is in. Although she had much more to work with in her previous role in Ti West’s “Pearl,” I honestly think this may be her best performance yet. She brought such demented energy to every scene she was in that this film honestly would not be the same without her. 

Even though we are only just over a month into 2023, I can see this film ranking in my top 10 by the end of this year. “Infinity Pool” is a film I plan on returning to many more times in the future, just as I have with Cronenberg’s other films — “Possessor” being a favorite of mine. “Infinity Pool” masterfully creates a sense of unease and horror, keeping the audience on edge from beginning to end. 

The film’s practical effects are stunning as well, and the score is so beautifully haunting that it complements the overall harrowing atmosphere of the film perfectly. Horror film practical effects are like my bread and butter, but only if it is done right. The Cronenbergs — including Brandon and his legendary director of a father, David Cronenberg — always seem to deliver in that field. 

You know what they say, like father like son. 

Overall, “Infinity Pool” is a must-watch for science fiction and horror fans. Cronenberg has once again proven himself to be a master of the genre, delivering a film that is equally thought-provoking as it is terrifying and bloody.

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