After her performances last year in X and Pearl, Mia Goth has quickly cemented her place amongst the best present-day horror actors. But before we see her return in that series’ third movie, MaXXXine, Goth has joined forces with writer/director Brandon Cronenberg for Infinity Pool, which also stars Alexander Skarsgård and Cleopatra Coleman. Infinity Pool premiered at Sundance Film Festival this past weekend ahead of its January 27 release to theaters. Reviews are in for this science fiction-horror film, so let’s see if this nightmarish-sounding flick should be next on our must-see list of 2023 movies.
Infinity Pool sees author James (Alexander Skarsgård) and Em (Cleopatra Coleman) on an all-inclusive getaway in the fictional Li Tolqa, with James hoping the vacation will help him overcome his writer’s block. The couple meets Gabi (Mia Goth), and soon a tragedy befalls them, forcing James and Em to make a life-altering decision. Let’s see what the critics have to say about the film.
Meagan Navarro of Bloody Disgusting rates Infinity Pool 4 skulls out of a possible 5, saying the director’s capability to build such levels of dread and tension, combined with the captivating performances of Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård make this sure-to-be-polarizing movie worth the watch. The critic continues:
Skarsgård toggles between extreme vulnerability and primal rage. At the same time, Goth progresses her character’s devious machinations with a scene-stealing level of unhinged glee that might give Pearl a run for her money. The scene-stealer showcases her comedic chops that make her feel all the more dangerous. Together, the pair take their characters to places that never fail to leave your jaw on the floor- again and again.
Those familiar with Brandon Cronenberg’s past work know his penchant for going to the extreme to make his audience uncomfortable, and this appears to be no different, as an initial cut of the film was given an NC-17 rating. Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics says Antiviral and Possessor are nothing compared to the “utterly genius” Infinity Pool. The critic rates it 3.5 out of 5 stars, saying the retooled R-rated version still pushes the limits:
As Cronenberg relishes in the utter chaos he has created, he’s unafraid to go to more grotesque, psycho-sexual places. It doesn’t all work; as Cronenberg sometimes loses sight of the narrative in his attempts to shock and awe the audience. There are scenes that seem to exist solely to send the weak-hearted scrambling to the exits. But when he’s firmly in control, few can conjure up an unforgettable image quite like Cronenberg.
Chris Evangelista of SlashFilm rates the movie 8 out of 10, saying he left the Sundance screening dizzy from the extreme gore and brutality. But the critic also said Brandon Cronenberg's movie provides him with something he's never seen before, “and that's the type of giddy high I'm always chasing.” Evangelista continues:
Cronenberg creates an atmosphere of nauseating dread through it all as things grow increasingly deranged. No fooling: this is not an easy movie to watch. It gets under your skin and makes your flesh crawl. It infects you. You'll probably want to take a shower after the credits roll, and then take another shower just to be sure you're extra clean. This may have you begging the question: why would I even want to watch this? Because it is a fantastic execution of style and form; of depravity and lunacy. On top of it all, there's a darkly comedic tone lurking beneath all the madness, bordering on satire.
Poulomi Das of The Playlist agrees with the above assessment, grading the movie an A- and saying Infinity Pool forces the viewers to give themselves to the director for an experience unlike any they’ve had before. The critic says Mia Goth proves her range, even surpassing her performance in Pearl. The review states:
By now, it’s become somewhat of a cliche to make a case for a film by labeling it as original. Still, I’d go on a limb to say that Infinity Pool is unlike anything you’ve ever encountered, not just in scope but also in resolution. Why do we watch movies? Is it to be one step ahead at all times or to agree to cede control? Infinity Pool is the kind of film that reminds you that sometimes, the best thing a filmmaker can do is take you to places you would never dream of heading without apologizing for any of it.
IndieWire’s Ryan Lattanzio agrees that the actors are impressive and Brandon Cronenberg has some sharp ideas, but this critic was left wanting when it comes to the execution, grading the movie a C:
Despite the pile-up of blood, guts, holes, and dicks in a hallucinogenic montage that punctures Infinity Pool’s otherwise weirdly sleepy atmosphere, the film is never as appalling as it seems to confidently believe it is.
If Infinity Pool sounds like a movie you want to check out, you can do so starting on Friday, January 27 when it hits theaters. Also be sure to check out other upcoming horror movies, and if you want to see Mia Goth in one of her previous lauded performances, you can stream X with Paramount+ subscription through a Showtime add-on.