[Sundance 2023 Review] Brandon Cronenberg’s Psychedelic Nightmare INFINITY POOL is Just As Gory (and Horny) As Expected

Modern Body Horror maestro Brandon Cronenberg returns to the Sundance Film Festival with his most recent mind-bender Infinity Pool. Set five minutes into the future, this sci-fi shocker follows a struggling writer looking for inspiration who finds more than he bargained for when he is sentenced to death while on vacation. Thankfully for him, the government offers its affluent offenders the ability to pay for a clone to take their place at the execution.

Naturally, this isn’t the calm, relaxing weekend away James (Alexander Skarsgård) and his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) were looking for. Watching a live execution just isn’t the bonding experience it used to be. Em is having a hard time dealing with James’ cold reaction to the whole affair and she wants to GTFO back to the safety of home. They start packing their bags immediately but when James discovers his passport missing, it’s suddenly impossible for him to go back to their humdrum lives.

 

“A psychedelic slip-n-slide of sex & violence”

 

Oh, it’s also crazy gory and gross! Infinity Pool, as expected, is a psychedelic slip-n-slide of sex & violence featuring acid trip orgies, body destruction, and kaleidoscope freak outs. Similar to the hallucinatory sequences of Possesser (2020), the effects in Infinity Pool are all done within camera and are equally as hypnotizing. You’re in the passenger seat with James as he lets loose on his debaucherous, hedonistic exploration of self. It’s a real trip.

If you’re curious about the meaning behind the title “Infinity Pool,” so am I…and I’ve already seen it! Infinity Pool is much more of an allegorical tale than his previous films (although there’s PLENTY to talk about in Antiviral and Possessor) but rest assured that it’s also the kind of movie where you see a person ripped in half like a blood-filled english muffin. Just be ready to bring your thinking caps to the movie theatre when you sit down with this double-stuffed oreo of visual metaphors and ambiguity.

 

“unpredictable to the very end.”

 

Shuffled into Infinity Pool‘s stacked deck of madness is the devilishly deranged Gabi played by modern horror’s “squeam queen” Mia Goth. She’s shrill, she’s the opposite of chill, and she’s full of nothing but bad ideas. Seemingly sent directly from a dark place to ruin James and Em‘s lives, Gabi lives a life of grotesque excess at the expense of everyone around her. It’s another wonderful and weird performance from Goth, but let’s not forget, this story lives in a world where the rich can get away with murder as long as their cheques clear. Why shouldn’t she go hard on vacation? She’s earned it, right!?



It’s a movie that Mom and Dad would approve of…assuming Mom and Dad are cool with blood & guts & cum. Like so many after school specials, it’s a cautionary “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” tale. So far, outlook not so good if we’re to assume we’re seeing a future that’s only a few bad decisions away from becoming our new reality.

 

“A movie that Mom and Dad would approve of…assuming Mom and Dad are cool with blood & guts & cum.”

 

To Infinity Pool‘s credit, it knows exactly what you’re thinking and where you’re predicting it will go. Right around the time you start thinking the real James was killed instead of the clone, it tackles that theory. Just as soon as you start pondering the implications of a get-out-of-jail-free card, James finds himself smack dab in the middle of a home invasion. And yet, Infinity Pool still manages to remain unpredictable to the very end.

Cronenberg’s repeated skewering of modern living is a strength he puts to good use here as well. His visual style and his storytelling are undeniably his own. He crafts eerie erotic doom like no one else. However, Infinity Pool tries to have its oddball cake and eat it too with a finale that I didn’t complete jive with me BUT not enough good can be said about a filmmaker committed to pushing the boundaries of how “graphic images” can be used as tools for gripping storytelling. And folks, this here motion picture is simply festooned graphic, gripping imagery 🤘

 

“…Eerie erotic doom…”

 

Brandon Cronenberg’s Infinity Pool celebrated its World Premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and will be playing select theatres beginning January 27, 2023. Click HERE to follow our continued coverage of the festival’s horror titles and be sure to let us know if you’re excited to check out this gory, horny body horror over on Twitter or in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord!

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[Sundance 2023 Review] Brandon Cronenberg’s Psychedelic Nightmare INFINITY POOL is Just As Gory (and Horny) As Expected
TL;DR
Cronenberg's repeated skewering of modern living is a strength he puts to good use here as well. His visual style and his storytelling are undeniably his own. He crafts eerie erotic doom like no one else and not enough good can be said about a filmmaker committed to pushing the boundaries of how "graphic images" can be used as tools for gripping storytelling.
Visual Effects / Cinematogrpahy
90
Practical Effects
100
Story
70
Performances
80
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
85
SCORE

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