Infinity Pool offers an intriguing premise but relies on Cronenberg’s tricks of the trade instead of exploring its ideas.
James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård), a writer in need of inspiration, is on a vacation with his wife Em (Cleopatra Colman). He meets another couple and strikes up a friendship. On their way back to the resort, after the two pairs spent time in a secluded spot, they get involved in an accident. James manages to avoid going to jail by watching himself die but gets trapped in something more sinister.
It’s a captivating hook supported by good performances. Mia Goth, the newly minted indie scream queen, delivers her signature performance as a deranged psychopath. Alexander Skarsgård, an actor who doesn’t mind risking his likability for a role, does his best. The rest of the supporting cast adds to the worldbuilding.
In a poor, corrupt, and backward fictional country somewhere in the Mediterranean, James is invited into a group of rich tourists who indulge in the staples of hedonism – robbery, orgies, drugs, and random violence – by taking full advantage of the country’s peculiar get-out-of-jail card.
Cronenberg does his thing, delivering psychedelic imagery, body horror, and bizarre science. During the doubling process, James enters a pool filled with red and then blue goo wearing nothing but a dental mouth opener. In one native drug-fueled orgy scene, neon colors and naked bodies blend into each other.
With trademark Cronenberg style, Infinity Pool is both gorgeous and disgusting. Much like Possessor, it’s an intriguing horror where an unlucky person’s mind and body are subjected to some perverse science with psychological adverse effects.
So what does this all mean? unclear. There’s something here about how tourism turns culture into a commodity, how privilege insulates horrible rich people, and how a writer hates himself so much he enjoys watching himself die.
The script doesn’t delve deeper into any of its ideas and develop its characters beyond a plot device. Infinity Pool has something to say but fails to articulate it beyond shock value.
Infinity Pool is a well-acted but shallow and jumbled movie that isn't as deep and provocative as it thinks.