Infinity Pool boasting orgies and full-frontal scene branded ‘White Lotus for sickos’ in reviews

Is Infinity Pool the most shocking horror EVER? Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth-helmed movie boasting orgies, executions and full-frontal scene is branded ‘White Lotus for sickos’ in first reviews

  • Infinity Pool will be released in cinemas worldwide on January 27, 2023 

Infinity Pool has left critics aghast with its scenes of executions, orgies and full-frontal nudity in first reviews of the shocking horror film starring Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth.

The film, directed by Possessor’s Brandon Cronenberg, follows writer James Foster (Skarsgard)  and Em Foster (Cleopatra Coleman), a couple enjoying an all-inclusive beach vacation in the fictional island of La Tolqa, when a fatal accident exposes the resort’s perverse subculture of hedonistic tourism, violence and surreal horrors.

In one of the film’s most shocking scenes, Goth, who plays a free-spirited tourist and actress Gabi, performs a sex act on Skarsgard’s Foster, with the writer ejaculating with his manhood fully shown on screen.

Shock horror: Infinity Pool has left critics aghast with its scenes of executions, orgies and full-frontal nudity in first reviews of the shocking horror film starring Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth

Shock horror: Infinity Pool has left critics aghast with its scenes of executions, orgies and full-frontal nudity in first reviews of the shocking horror film starring Alexander Skarsgard and Mia Goth

Other gory scenes show a clone of Skarsgard being disemboweled and orgies – with the R-rated film branded ‘The White Lotus- but for sickos’ upon its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Skarsgard said himself of the role: ‘Fighting a naked version of myself to the death and then being breastfed by Mia … that’s not something you get to do very often as an actor.’

Collider critic Ross Bonaime writes: ‘As hallucinogenic substances are brought into the story, Cronenberg creates terrifying yet seductive imagery that combines extreme sexual imagery, disconcerting horror elements, and just a complete unawareness of what the hell is going on. 

‘But the problem with Infinity Pool is the decision to set up this fascinating concept about how rich, white tourists treat often poor vacation spots as their own personal playgrounds, and instead of exploring that fully, decides to go down a path of weird-as-s**t concepts with seemingly little reason to exist other than to jolt the audience and give the world even more Mia Goth memes.

Oh my: The film, directed by Brandon Cronenberg, follows writer James Foster (Skarsgard) and Em Foster (Cleopatra Coleman), a couple enjoying an all-inclusive beach vacation in the fictional island of La Tolqa, when a fatal accident exposes the resort's perverse subculture

Oh my: The film, directed by Brandon Cronenberg, follows writer James Foster (Skarsgard) and Em Foster (Cleopatra Coleman), a couple enjoying an all-inclusive beach vacation in the fictional island of La Tolqa, when a fatal accident exposes the resort’s perverse subculture

Infinity Pool: What the critics said  

Pouloumi Das, The Playlist  

‘One of the film’s undeniable highlights is Cronenberg’s singular vision: he excels at making bloodshed look like a thing of beauty, breathlessly blending the disturbing and the gorgeous to construct unforgettable hallucinatory sequences (working in tandem with his regular collaborator).’

Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWire

‘Stars Alexander Skarsgärd and Mia Goth deliver terrifically unhinged performances as a failing novelist and a mysterious tour guide, and Cronenberg has absolutely no shortage of original ideas, but the whole thing feels bloodless, cold and clammy as a speculum.’

Meagan Navarro, Bloody Disgusting

‘It’s not just the shocking escalation or Cronenberg’s approach that keeps Infinity Pool so engaging and occasionally repulsive, but the committed performances by Skarsgård and Goth. The increasingly complex layers added to James and Gabi reveal there’s far more to Infinity Pool than simply the rich eating the rich.’

Ross Bonaime, Collider

‘As hallucinogenic substances are brought into the story, Cronenberg creates terrifying yet seductive imagery that combines extreme sexual imagery, disconcerting horror elements, and just a complete unawareness of what the hell is going on.’

Nick Schager, The Daily Beast

‘Rising to the challenge of equaling the bats**t wildness of his prior Possessor, Brandon Cronenberg writhes around in more psychosexual body-horror violation, mutation, mutilation, and hysteria with Infinity Pool, a film so extreme that the only reasonable response is often laughter.’

Damon Wise, Deadline

‘Cronenberg is now going all-in for the cinema of nightmares, with a film that gets under the skin and itches, invades the brain and plays havoc with the synapses.’

Peter Debruge – Variety

‘In so many ways, Infinity Pool is right on brand (transgressive shots of erections erupting out of vagina-like orifices, say, or someone breast-feeding Alexander Skarsgård). And yet, Dark Brandon seems to have gone off the deep end this time — which is precisely where a certain contingent of horror fans want him.’

 

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‘Infinity Pool is a journey that it’s hard not to get sucked into while it’s happening, laughing at its absurdity, and shocked by the darkness Cronenberg is harnessing. But like the morning after a wild party once the hangover is winding down, it’s easy to look back and wonder what the hell happened in Cronenberg’s latest.

IndieWire critic Ryan Lattanzio praised the ‘terrifically unhinged’ performances of the leads but said ‘the whole thing feels bloodless, cold and clammy as a speculum.

‘Despite the pile-up of blood, guts, holes, and d**ks 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.

‘There’s a psychedelic orgy montage suffused with all manner of body parts, James and Gabi high out of their skulls on some kind of religious drug and pounding each other in ecstasy, that feels very similar to the one in Possessor where Andrea Riseborough suddenly had a penis. This is likely one of the moments that originally got Infinity Pool its justifiable NC-17 rating.

The Daily Beast’s Nick Schager called Infinity Pool Cronenberg’s ‘finest atrocity to date’ while praising Skargard for cementing his reputation as Hollywood’s ‘most daring leading man’.

Wow: In one of the film's most shocking scenes, Goth, who plays a free-spirited tourist and actress Gabi, performs a sex act on Skarsgard's Foster, with the writer ejaculating with his manhood fully shown on screen

Wow: In one of the film’s most shocking scenes, Goth, who plays a free-spirited tourist and actress Gabi, performs a sex act on Skarsgard’s Foster, with the writer ejaculating with his manhood fully shown on screen

Clone: Skarsgard's character is seen being cloned during the film

Clone: Skarsgard’s character is seen being cloned during the film 

Explosive: Skarsgard said himself of the role: 'Fighting a naked version of myself to the death and then being breastfed by Mia ¿ that¿s not something you get to do very often as an actor'

Explosive: Skarsgard said himself of the role: ‘Fighting a naked version of myself to the death and then being breastfed by Mia … that’s not something you get to do very often as an actor’

He writes: ‘Rising to the challenge of equaling the bats**t wildness of his prior Possessor, Brandon Cronenberg writhes around in more psychosexual body-horror violation, mutation, mutilation, and hysteria with Infinity Pool, a film so extreme that the only reasonable response is often laughter.

‘Cronenberg’s third feature is many things all at once, and though it doesn’t all cohere in neat-and-tidy fashion, that messiness is part of the point—a notion repeatedly hammered home by up-close-and-personal sights of blood and body fluids dripping, gushing, and squirting out of various orifices and wounds.

‘That Skarsgård is so game for this sort of left-field lunacy—in which he suffers a barrage of manipulation, abuse, and humiliation—confirms that he’s one of Hollywood’s most daring leading men, as interested in eviscerating idealized masculinity as he is in embodying it.’

Eerie: Other gory scenes show a clone of Skarsgard being disemboweled and orgies - with the R-rated film branded 'The White Lotus- but for sickos' upon its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival

Eerie: Other gory scenes show a clone of Skarsgard being disemboweled and orgies – with the R-rated film branded ‘The White Lotus- but for sickos’ upon its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival

Bloody Disgusting critic Meagan Navarro praised the film’s ‘engaging and repulsive’ storyline, writing: ‘The increasingly complex layers added to James and Gabi reveal there’s far more to Infinity Pool than simply the rich eating the rich. 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. 

‘But it’s much more incisive than a wild depiction of the badly behaved upper class. As its title suggests, the longer James gets caught up in the madness, the more his edges and identity blur. That means the movie is almost certain to be polarizing. But Cronenberg’s sense of style, paired with an unrelenting sense of dread and tension and two utterly captivating, depraved leads ensure these provocative waters are well worth wading into.’

Daring: Skarsgard has been lauded for his 'daring' attitude as an actor

Daring: Skarsgard has been lauded for his ‘daring’ attitude as an actor

 The Playlist critic Pouloumi Das heaped praise on Goth’s ability to ‘generate more jaw-dropping moments than most actors can conjure up in a lifetime’ in the film.  

‘One of the film’s undeniable highlights is Cronenberg’s singular vision: he excels at making bloodshed look like a thing of beauty, breathlessly blending the disturbing and the gorgeous to construct unforgettable hallucinatory sequences (working in tandem with his regular collaborator).

‘The casting is ingenious, informing the film’s marathon of sexy violence. Skarsgård, an actor always up for a challenge, physically transforms into an ideal vessel for this story about fragile ego and outsized personality. He plays James as a tightly wound, emasculated man so enthralled by the idea of wielding any kind of power that he’s willing to degrade himself to any level…

‘Indeed, it helps that the actor’s scene partner is Goth, an actress who has, in the last year, demonstrated the extent of her range, generating more jaw-dropping moments than most actors can conjure up in a lifetime. Infinity Pool is stacked to the brim with evidence of her range. If possible, Goth outdoes her turn in Pearl importing a deranged, feral-like quality to Gabi, turning her into an enigmatic, intimidating presence.’ 

Deadline’s Damon Wise writes: ‘Cronenberg is now going all-in for the cinema of nightmares, with a film that gets under the skin and itches, invades the brain and plays havoc with the synapses.

‘Foster’s degradation is fascinating to watch, and comparisons with Videodrome are unavoidable. In Infinity Pool, though, the once ambiguous new flesh is starting to take blurry shape, culminating in an eye-popping scene in which seemingly normal human organs suddenly develop shocking new functions. 

Gory: A naked Skarsgard is seen being stripped before cloning

Gory: A naked Skarsgard is seen being stripped before cloning 

‘As in Possessor, these envelope-pushing scenes could easily go, and the film would probably survive on the strength of its ingenious conceit. But Cronenberg’s commitment to working with extremes is the bedrock of the film’s thesis; beneath the blood and body parts, there is the story of an artist who wiped himself out with just one mediocre novel and has been trying to feel alive ever since.

Variety critic  Peter Debruge writes: ‘Visitors hold grotesque, drug-addled orgies at which their genitalia appear to morph before your eyes. The locals host sick rituals, too, wherein miscreants are cloned and then forced to witness their own executions. And then there are the macabre Li Tolqan skin masks, which suggest generations of inbreeding, or maybe they’re just the half-salvaged faces of botched doubling experiments.

‘In so many ways, Infinity Pool is right on brand (transgressive shots of erections erupting out of vagina-like orifices, say, or someone breast-feeding Alexander Skarsgård). And yet, Dark Brandon seems to have gone off the deep end this time — which is precisely where a certain contingent of horror fans want him.

‘By the time we’re confronted with Skarsgård rabidly wrestling a naked version of himself into submission, the film has long ceased to make sense. The Canadian helmer has created the cinematic equivalent of an M.C. Escher drawing, which bends and breaks and folds back on itself in impossible ways. Brain-shattering as it all is, we can hardly tear our eyes away.’

On October 19, Bloody Disgusting reported that Infinity Pool was edited from an NC-17 film to a hard R-rated film.

Cronenberg is the son of iconic body horror director David Cronenberg, known for classic films such as The Fly and The Dead Zone, 

 Infinity Pool will be released in cinemas worldwide on January 27, 2023

Infinity Pool will be released in cinemas worldwide on January 27, 2023

Infinity Pool will be released in cinemas worldwide on January 27, 2023

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