Spoilers ahead for Infinity Pool.
Will elite travellers ever receive justice? Infinity Pool, Brandon Cronenberg’s terrifying satire on the hedonistic exploits of wealthy tourists might have the answer. By commenting on the Western gentrification of developing countries and the class disparities within the justice system, Cronenberg pairs science fiction with body horror, leaving viewers deeply unsettled by its uncensored brutality. While the sex and gore are overwhelming, these elements are essential—even if overdone by the conclusion—in accurately conveying the atrocities committed by the wealthy tourists to the audience. Horrifying and thrilling, Infinity Pool’s impressive cast and heady screenplay make for an undoubtedly compelling experience.
The film begins with married couple James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em Foster (Cleopatra Coleman), who are vacationing in the fictional country of La Tolqa so the former can find inspiration for his second novel. After James meets beautiful fan Gabi (Mia Goth), he and Em accompany Gabi and her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert) for dinner and a trip to the beach the following day. But inadvertently committing a fatal crime while intoxicated, James is sentenced with the death penalty. However, La Tolqa’s justice system allows wealthy offenders to avoid this fate by paying to have a clone of themselves take their place. James ends up joining Gabi and Alban’s group of wealthy tourists and chaos ensues as the group continues to commit crimes and clone themselves to get off scot-free. While James is initially enamoured by the sex, drugs, and excitement of this depraved trip, he begins to doubt his morality. When Gabi’s group prevents him from leaving, James wakes up to the morbid truth of their indulgence only as he’s trapped in their unrelenting mania.
Infinity Pool uses an exaggerated metaphor to critique the wealthy’s ability to bypass the law and avoid repercussions. Despite his amnesty from the death penalty initially seeming like freedom without consequences, James soon learns that the ordeal may cost him his humanity. Since James married rich rather than coming from money, there is something innately different about him. The film implies that other affluent tourists who have always lived lavishly do not have this same moral quandary, as they only become more entranced with their lifestyle after each cloning. Throughout the movie, Gabi’s group wears masks with contorted faces to disguise themselves while they commit crimes. This suggests the true unseemly nature of the group: The masks disguise their misdeeds, while they are able to live normal, privileged lives once they’re removed.
Skarsgård does a fantastic job embodying not only James but several of his clones. The film raises the question of what it truly means to be human, and Skarsgård is the symbol of this conundrum as he struggles with his identity after cloning himself several times, and even brutalizing these versions of himself. Mia Goth—who gained recognition in the horror films X and Pearl—cements herself further as the scream queen of recent cinema, elevating the film’s creepiness to another level. Gabi is immediately recognizable as a character who is not all that she seems, and her capacity for intrigue elevates the suspense.
Cronenberg’s screenplay is profoundly unique, and its fast-paced plot combined with complex characters keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. While cloning has been heavily explored in sci-fi, Infinity Pool avoids predictability by basing its horror around human overindulgence, with the clones only facilitating characters’ debauched exploits. The cinematography meticulously captures both the most indulgent and terrifying aspects, effectively intertwining sex scenes with the visual effects of hallucinogenic drugs, all edited together with pieces of gore. At a certain point in the film, however, the explicit scenes become excessive in number and take away from the rest of the plot.
Infinity Pool questions how elite privilege exacerbates the class disparity in developing countries through relentless hedonism. Similar to other recent on-screen explorations about the upper class, such as White Lotus or Triangle of Sadness, the movie comments on the dangers of unbridled indulgence. A stellar entry into the body horror genre, this film stands out with its eccentric characters and distinctive plot.
Infinity Pool is now playing in theatres.