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Sundance 2023 Q&A: ‘Infinity Pool’ director, actors reflect on film’s commentary on human nature

Mia Goth speaks during an interview at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. The actor stars as Gabi in “Infinity Pool.” (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

By Alexis Jones

Jan. 27, 2023 5:15 p.m.

Horror dives headfirst into the deep end in “Infinity Pool.”

Screened in the Midnight category of the Sundance Film Festival, writer-director Brandon Cronenberg’s feature film chronicles the ill-fated beach vacation of James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård), who is introduced to a dangerous, opulent underworld of sex and violence by Gabi (Mia Goth).

Cronenberg, Goth and actors Amanda Brugel and Caroline Boulton spoke with the Daily Bruin’s Alexis Jones at a festival press line about how “Infinity Pool” distinguishes itself within the horror genre through its message on 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 stands apart from other horror films?

Brandon Cronenberg: I think horror is just actually such a wide genre. I’ve had some people talk about my films as though they’re not horror films, just because they’re not mainstream horror films. I feel like outside the genre, maybe there’s a certain conception of horror, like a narrow conception of horror. But actually, if you like the genre and the history of it, it’s so broad and artful and interesting. So, I hope the film stands out in that it’s worth something to people, but it’s not so far beyond anything that exists in the history of horror cause it’s such a rich genre.

I hope aesthetically, we’ve done something interesting. We did a lot of very experimental in-camera practical effects, not just horror effects, but sort of these hallucination effects and the hallucination sequences that were all practical effects with a kind of particular look that my cinematographer Karim Hussain and I in particular were developing. I hope there’s something to that.

Mia Goth: When I read the script, it read to me as a real meditation on power examined in a really nuanced way. I don’t think it’s been explored in this particular way before, and I think audiences are going to be pleasantly surprised.

(Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)
Alexander Skarsgård (left) and Goth (right) pose at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Directed by Brandon Cronenberg, "Infinity Pool" comments on the darker side of human nature. (Joseph Jimenez/Assistant Photo editor)

DB: How have your conceptions of this film changed from before you started filming to now?

Amanda Brugel: I had no idea that it would turn into something that would affect my life so much. That being said, 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 movie. There are times, even with my children, and even with raising my kids, there are moments that flare up that I see a darkness in myself that it’s only the movie that made me realize. And so, for Cronenberg’s sake and for the movie’s sake, I hope everyone realizes there’s a certain darkness, and they shouldn’t be afraid of it. That it’s normal and it’s global, and it’s something that sort of 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 the biggest takeaway is probably how messed up people can be, and that’s presented in such a great way in this movie, 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 part of this, is to see how sick people really are.

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Alexis Jones | Arts editor
Jones is the 2022-2023 Arts editor. She was previously an Arts staff writer from 2021-2022. She is a fourth-year psychology student from Las Vegas.
Jones is the 2022-2023 Arts editor. She was previously an Arts staff writer from 2021-2022. She is a fourth-year psychology student from Las Vegas.
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