Couple James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) are away on what seems to be a perfect holiday on an island resort, away from the world and life troubles. While the two are sharing breakfast, we learn that James came up with the idea of a holiday so he could work on his writing. It’s been six years since he wrote his last book, and James is lacking inspiration for his newest novel. He hopes some time away with his partner will ignite fresh and powerful creativity.
While staying on the island, James takes a walk along the beach and meets a mysterious woman named Gabi (Mia Goth). We discover Gabi is a fan of James’s writing. She invites James to join her and her partner at a local restaurant, and James agrees, taking Em along too. New friendships are formed, and James loves it, whereas Em remains unsure and cautious. Gabi again makes another invite, this time to leave the resort’s grounds. Despite this being something locals don’t recommend, James accepts. However, after a tragic accident, James enters a whole new world filled with disastrous aspects, unknown mysteries, unsettling violence, and disturbing horror.
Infinity Pool combines many genres, such as mystery, crime thriller, horror, and some minor sci-fi aspects. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, the son of the well-known director David Cronenberg, this film contains similar vibes to his last directorial film, Possessor (2020). In his third directional film, Cronenberg once again pushes all the boundaries of horror and provides countless moments filled with unique creativity.
The horror aspect here is deeply disturbing, highly gruesome, and violent. The uncut version of this certainly warrants its rating. Highly creative, the storyline alone feels different and is filled with high unpredictability, particularly in the third act. I found the opening act strong. Creative camera angles and movements, such as rotating camera angles, strongly hint throughout the opening that the audience is about to embark on a story that’s out there and crazy. The film also has an unsettling soundtrack by Tim Hecker, which I found highly pleasing and praiseworthy. I felt either heightened, suspicious or tense whenever I heard the score.
Performances here are on point. Alexander Skarsgård delivered a solid performance. Granted, his character isn’t overly loud or energetic, to begin with, but he commands the screen nicely whenever he appears on-screen, and his line deliveries are solid. Mia Goth, as the mysterious Gabi, is outstanding. Goth shines strongly from her first introduction and displays a strength of mysteriousness and wickedness that you can’t look away from. Her performance alone is easily one of the film’s biggest highlights.
As for the storyline, I can’t fully say this isn’t going to suit everyone’s taste. While the start begins strongly, I did find some moments in the second act far slower, and some scenes felt repetitive and predictable. The third act delivered some great moments that won’t leave my mind anytime soon, but the finale didn’t leave on a positive note. Instead, I felt the final moments were slightly vague and dull, given the entire journey and all the disturbing moments and horror I witnessed. I couldn’t help but want something more.
Overall, seeing Director Brandon Cronenberg continuing in his father’s steps is welcomed. Fans of this director won’t be surprised to discover a unique story here packed with fun mysteries, disturbing scenes and bloody imagery. The filming style can’t be faulted, and the same can be said about the creepy and tense music score. Alexander Skarsgård is excellent, and Mia Goth gives yet another flawless performance. The storyline is the weaker aspect for me. I felt invested and engaged in many moments, but at other times I found the journey either slow, repetitive, or predictable. Like the film Possessor from 2020, this film will not be for everyone, especially the uncut version, which I found to be highly tense and intensely gruesome, leaving me, in the end, feeling icky. Infinite Pool (2023) is Available in Australian Cinemas from May 11th.