Arise Mia Goth, the scream queen of this generation. It is safe to say the actor has had a barnstorming run over the past years in the horror and thriller genres with her performances in X and then Pearl, but now we can add another to that list. This one is titled Infinity Pool and it is once again Goth’s time to shine.
Things begin normally: James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård) is a novelist suffering from the dreaded writer’s block (or what he feels is a lack of talent), and has fled abroad with wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) to find inspiration in pastures new. They have chosen a peculiar location for their holiday in a resort situated in a far more dangerous country than they could have imagined. Lured outside the grounds of the resort by another travelling couple, Gabi (Mia Goth) and Alban (Jalil Lespert), James finds himself flung into an intolerant world in which only money sets you free; if you cannot afford it, death is the punishment for your crimes. His new surroundings and barbaric friends lead him to temptation and away from civilised society, but James needs to accept the extremity of his circumstances, or else he will sink rather than swim.
This is going to be a nauseating journey, and that is made clear from the start as the camera rolls across landscapes in an evilly twisted manner. But that alone will not prepare viewers for what is in store. Skarsgård and Coleman holiday in what seems like a God-awful place, later revealed to be the fictitious Li Tolqa. Why anyone would ever choose to go on vacation in this wasteland of a resort is beyond knowledge and reason – it is asking for trouble, and find them trouble does. Goth and Lespert stink of distrust and disloyalty as a couple, and one screams at James and Em to remove themselves from their company and go back to the beach.
As the layers peel back, Infinity Pool’s visceral journey begins and Gabi’s immediate intimacy with James takes him and the viewer by surprise. Goth’s chillingly unsettling portrayal is enough to make even the thickest of skins crawl: you know she is up to something but she hides it so sinisterly. At times, it is difficult to take the performance seriously, but this makes the character all the more unnerving. Likewise, Skarsgård, usually the dashingly handsome hero, has his exterior shattered by director Brandon Cronenberg (albeit a little too quickly) with every twist and turn.
On the visual storytelling front, there is far, far too much sex that simply isn’t necessary and adds nothing to the narrative. There is also an over-saturation of body horror, with blood, guts and skull-crushing sequences littered throughout. This makes for gory viewing, naturally, but the movie can indulge in this aspect a little too much as the chaotic delivery begins to override any sense of coherence.
In an experience like an episode of White Lotus in Soviet Russia, the viewer is never truly sure where the action and visuals are going to lurch next. The concept presented suddenly ignites both the plot and our attention, aided by some impressive cinematography from Karim Hussain. An infinite pool of life chances for rich people, thanks to the creation of body doubles, is a wild and unique concept for the audience to gorge on, but, for all its possibilities, Infinity Pool begins to lose all direction come the third act, and the ending lacks justification and satisfaction.
Infinity Pool is released nationwide on 24th March 2023.
Watch the trailer for Infinity Pool here: