In 2020, the indie horror movie Possessor introduced to the world a visionary new director, Brandon Cronenberg. True to his father, David Cronenberg’s legacy of provocative and daring brand of horror, Brandon is successfully craving a place for himself in the same genre. In Infinity Pool, he takes us on a mind-bending journey into a horror unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Alexander Skarsgard plays James, a bored and unsuccessful novelist on vacation with his rich wife in a fictional island of La Tolqa. The resort is located in what appears to be a poor country with a corrupt system. He meets another couple with whom he quickly strikes up a friendship and they soon find themselves doing things together. That’s when the trouble begins, as James is drawn deeper and deeper into a dark world that flirts with the surreal. Brandon demonstrates his creative flair in his writing and directing style once again with a story so unusual that we can’t take our eyes off the scene in eager anticipation of what happens next. We also have the pleasure of seeing Mia Goth (from Pearly and X), once again stealing the scenes whenever she appears.
When we watch a Cronenberg movie we come prepare to be drawn into a world that is bizarre. While Infinity Pool delivers on that hidden promise, it does end up feeling a bit underwhelming by the time the film ends. Here are some things which I personally found a bit lacking. The ending for me left a few questions unanswered which is always annoying when we had invested so much of our attention in anticipation for a killer ending. The motivations of James’ antagonists appear hazy and do not seem to match the intensity and effort taken to achieve them. Casting could have been better. I’m used to seeing Alexander Skarsgard as big, strong heroic characters, so seeing him here as someone timid, weak, and basically a loser felt unconvincing for me. He may have succeeded in projecting this through his performance, but his lean and fit physical appearance is at odds with that personality. Mia Goth is always fantastic, but I thought she went a little too far in some scenes, making her character’s personality appear volatile, unstable and unpredictable. This made it difficult for me to identify with the character’s actions.
I liked how the film looked and felt, and how it kept me wanting to know what happened next. It is a pity that I felt let down by the film’s ending and thought a different lead actor might have done the project more justice. Not as impactful as his last project, Possessor, but still a nice enough effort by Brandon Cronenberg. Good enough for me to anticipate more from him in the future.