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‘Infinity Pool’ Ending Explained: Vacation’s Over

How does the freaky new Brandon Cronenberg movie conclude?

“Infinity Pool” is the new button-pushing horror movie from Brandon Cronenberg, the son of body horror king David Cronenberg (making weird ass movies seems to be a family tradition). Alexander Skarsgård and Cleopatra Coleman star as James and Em, a beautiful young couple vacationing in the fictional country of Li Tolqa (actually filmed in Croatia and Hungary) where they run into Mia Goth as Gabi, a charming oddball who soon sucks them into a world they were very much unprepared for. Murder, mayhem, illegal cloning, full frontal nudity and boozy days at the beach are all a part of this holiday. (The movie is so extreme that it was originally rated NC-17, which was the version shown to journalists. The version being released this weekend in theaters is rated R.)

But how can you even wrap up a story this phantasmagorical and unpredictable? Read on and find out.

Major spoilers for “Infinity Pool” follow; if you haven’t seen the movie do not read further.

Just tell me why this movie is so controversial.

One night James and Em decide to take a trip outside the confines of the cushy resort. Guests are warned not to leave the hotel grounds as the country is dangerous and unpredictable. But they bribe a guard to let them borrow his car and they head out with Goth and her partner Alban (played by French actor and filmmaker Jalil Lespert). They spend a day on the beach drinking and talking about life and their respective careers (James is a failed novelist but Gabi claims to have read his lone novel). On the way back from the beach, James is driving and runs over a local man, killing him.

That’s when the gang is introduced to the laws that govern Li Tolqa – primarily that, if you kill someone (even accidentally), the victim’s family can kill you. (“Eye for an eye” and all that.) But there’s a loophole for politicians and rich dingbats. For a set fee, scientists in Li Tolqa can create an exact generic double right there in the police station. Then the family member can still exact their revenge and you, as the monied jerk, can watch as your expensive doppelganger gets murdered. (In Skarsgård’s case, a young boy stabs him repeatedly in the stomach.)

This, as they say, is the opening salvo of James’ descent into depravity and unchecked animalism.

Wait, what else happens?

Well, Em leaves almost immediately after James claims that he can’t find his passport. (He has clearly been changed, on a molecular level, by his experience with the clone.) That leaves James to fall in with Gabi, Alban and a band of “zombies” (those who have been sentenced to death and then doubled) even more, joining them on a home invasion, taking a psychedelic drug native to the island and engaging in some very trippy group sex. Eventually James tries to leave the band of murderous pranksters and is shot; he stumbles into the home of a local family and recuperates, only to have Gabi find him.

What does she make him do?

She brings out “the dog,” which is another of James’ clones but more feral and led around with a collar and leash. James ends up fighting his double and kills him in a very graphic sequence (his doppelgänger’s head basically gets turned into chunky jelly). Afterwards, they all get ready to return home. As they board the bus to the airport, they are talking about the banal errands they have to run when they return to their lives. Nothing is said about the killings or the drugs or the clones. It’s just back to normal.

But what happens to James?

James goes to the airport and is ready to board his plane back to the United States (we get a glimpse at his ticket and the movie is set in 2018 for some reason, maybe to establish that this all takes place pre-pandemic?) And then just … sits there. The terminal empties. Planes depart. And instead of going home, James returns to the resort, which has been shuttered for the rainy season (another peculiarity of Li Tolqa). The final shot of the movie is James sitting in one of the chairs by the pool, a thick sheet of rain pummeling him. This is one vacation that has changed him forever.

“Infinity Pool” is in theaters now.