White-Sand Brain Death

What Does “White-Sand Brain Death” Mean in the ‘Infinity Pool’ Finale?

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Infinity Pool, the twisted horror film directed by Brandon Cronenberg that shocked audiences at Sundance, is now available to stream on Hulu.

Infinity Pool, starring Alexander Skarsgrd, Mia Goth, and Cleopatra Coleman, is a sci-fi horror extravaganza written and directed by Brandon Cronenberg, the son of legendary body horror filmmaker David Cronenberg. Blood, deformed masks, drugged orgies, and breastfeeding are all depicted in this film. Like many science fiction horror films, however, it also contains cryptic symbolism and social commentary, which may be lost on some viewers.

Don’t stress, Decider will make the right call. Keep reading for a synopsis of the events in Infinity Pool, our interpretation of the film’s ending, and our take on what “white-sand brain death” means.

James Foster (Alexander Skarsgard) and his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) travel to the made-up country of Li Tolqa for a relaxing resort vacation. James, a novelist, has been suffering from writer’s block for quite some time and is looking for new ideas. James’s wife is the wealthy daughter of a media mogul who supports his lavish “writing” lifestyle, but their relationship is strained. While James is at the resort, a stunning blonde named Gabi (Mia Goth) approaches him and says she is a fan. In turn, this flatters James, who persuades Em to spend a day away from the resort with Gabi and her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert). Em is hesitant because the locals in Li Tolqa are so poor and violent that they forbid resort guests from leaving the property. However, she gives in and goes.

The four of them enjoy a day at the beach, where Gabi surprises James with a favor. Score! Since Alban has had too much to drink and can’t safely drive the rental car, James offers to take the wheel on the way home. James is driving a rental car when the headlights suddenly go out, killing a farmer who was crossing the road. James and Em want to call the police, but Gabi and Alban convince them not to. They say it’s too dangerous because of the country’s high level of corruption. They make a hasty getaway.

James is taken into custody early the following morning. He is informed that both his wife Gabi and their friend Alban have been questioned and have testified that James killed a farmer while driving drunk. James is told by the head detective, Detective Thresh (Thomas Kretschmann), that he will be executed by the victim’s 13-year-old son. But Detective Thresh claims that the government will clone James if he pays a large sum of money. If “the double” is put to death instead, James can return home unscathed.

James is fine with being cloned. The operation went smoothly. A 13-year-old boy stabs and kills a James clone in front of James and Em. After that, they are returned to the resort. Em has every right to demand an immediate return flight home, but James can’t seem to locate his passport. He decides to stay an extra week and pays for it with Em’s credit card. At the dinner hosted by Gabi and Alban, James meets a group of well-to-do Westerners who share his experience: they, too, committed a minor crime in Li Tolqa and paid to have their double executed. They felt the same excitement that James did. They now annually visit Li Tolqa to have orgies, commit crimes, and hire hit men to kill their doppelgangers.

To return to her home, Em takes a plane. James enjoys getting high, getting sex, and getting violent with the wealthy vacationers. However, James has had enough after being tricked by the tourist into attacking and urinating on his own clone, whom he mistook for Detective Thresh. He digs his passport out from behind the commode. I mean, what… That’s right, James stowed away his passport on purpose. Up until now, he had no interest in returning home.

Explanation of the “Infinity Pool” Finale

James tries to take the airport shuttle, but Gabi and the other tourists hold him at gunpoint until he joins them. At gunpoint, Gabi makes James walk in front of her car while she admits she has never read the book or had any respect for James as a person. She inflicts unnecessary pain on James by reading aloud from a review of his book that lays bare his incompetence as a writer. When Gabi shoots James in the leg, James runs away.

James ends up at a farm, where the residents welcome him with open arms. It’s unclear if these people are related to the farmer James murdered. Gabi and the other vacationers, however, track down James. Another feral clone of James, which Gabi refers to as “the dog,” is presented to James by Gabi. (James may have beaten and urinated on the same clone earlier in the film.) To which Gabi hands James a knife and says, “the dog.” James has said no. When James’s clone dog attacks, James responds by smashing the clone’s face in with a hammer. James murders his own clone by beating him to death. When James realizes what he’s done, he breaks down in tears. Gabi hastily arrives to console James. She holds him close and lets him “breastfeed” off her nipple, pretending to nurse a baby.

After that, they pack up and head to the airport like nothing happened. James follows along, clearly unnerved by their return to polite conversation. James ultimately decides not to board his flight. Instead, he chooses to spend the wet season holed up in the resort. As the water level rises, the infinity pool Gabi mentioned earlier in the film becomes submerged. James is shown in the final shot, sitting in a lounge chair, while heavy rain pours down around him.

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