Sundance 2023 Q&A: ‘Infinity Pool’ director, actors reflect on film’s commentary on human nature
Horror dives headfirst into the depths in Infinity Pool.
Screening in the Sundance Film Festival’s Midnight category, the feature film from writer-director Brandon Cronenberg chronicles the ill-fated beach vacation of James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård), who is plunged by Gabi (Mia) into a dangerous, opulent underworld of sex and… violence is introduced Gothic).
Cronenberg, Goth and actors Amanda Brugel and Caroline Boulton spoke with Daily Bruin’s Alexis Jones at a festival press conference about how Infinity Pool stands out within the horror genre for its message about human nature.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
[Related: Sundance 2022: ‘FRESH’ mixes comedy and cannibalism in new horror film]
Daily Bruin: How do you think this film differs from other horror films?
Brandon Cronenberg: I think horror is actually such a broad genre. Some people have talked about my films as if they weren’t horror films just because they aren’t mainstream horror films. I feel like outside of the genre, maybe there’s a certain notion of horror, like a narrow notion of horror. But actually, if you like the genre and its history, it’s so broad and artful and interesting. So I’m hoping that the film will stand out as having something of value to people, but it’s not that far beyond anything there is in horror history because it’s such a rich genre.
I hope aesthetically we did something interesting. We did a lot of very experimental practical effects in-camera, not just horror effects but kind of hallucination effects and the hallucination sequences, which were all practical effects with a special look that my cinematographer Karim Hussain and especially I developed. I hope there’s something to it.
Mia Goth: Reading the script, I found it to be a real meditation on power, explored in a very nuanced way. I don’t think it’s been explored this way before and I think audiences will be pleasantly surprised.
Alexander Skarsgård (left) and Goth (right) pose at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, Infinity Pool comments on the dark side of human nature. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo Editor)
DB: How have your ideas about this film changed from before you started shooting to now?
Amanda Brugel: Little did I know it would turn into something that would impact my life so much. Aside from who we think we are as people and how we go through life and the darkness that we don’t really see in ourselves, that’s something that really came out of this film. There are times, even with my children, and even when raising my children, there are moments when I see a darkness within me that only became clear to me through the film. And so I hope, for the sake of Cronenberg and the film, that everyone realizes that there is a certain darkness and they shouldn’t be afraid of it. That it’s normal and global, and it’s something that somehow aligns us.
[Related: Sundance 2023: Alumnus Randall Park makes directorial debut with film ‘Shortcomings’]
DB: What is your biggest takeaway from working on this film?
Caroline Boulton: I think probably the biggest realization is how messed up people can be and that’s portrayed so beautifully in this film, the reality of having a huge amount of money. If you had that much money what would you do? how would you play And I think that’s the best thing about seeing how sick people really are.