If David Cronenberg‘s long-awaited return to the realms of body horror with Crimes of the Future was a wild ride, then wait until you see what son Brandon has up his sleeve. While Cronenberg père was in semi-retirement after a decade, Cronenberg fils picked up the mantle with the chilly Antiviral and then shredded it with the demented body-ride splatter of Possessor. If ‘nepo baby’ is a thing, then Brandon is Damian Thorn. His latest, Infinity Pool, is a blast of high-concept, ultra-violent weirdness that skewers the behaviour of the super wealthy, and meditates on the nature of crime and punishment in a way Dostoevsky could never have envisioned.

Our Raskolnikov is James Foster (Alexander Skarsgård), a blocked writer on vacation with his wife Em (Cleopatra Coleman) to an island resort popular with the ultra-rich. The pair meet Gabi (Mia Goth) and her husband Alban (Jalil Lespert). Gabi is a fan of James’ first book and the flattered egoist is delighted to accept an invitation to dinner and before long they’ve hired a car for an excursion outside the tourist compound, a huge no-no on the. On the way back James hits and kills a local man. He’s apprehended and informed that local custom demands the man’s first-born son execute him to retain family honour. But there’s an option. Pay a significant sum of money and make use of some shady local technology that can create a clone to take his place. Of course he accepts. Gabi and Alban explain they’ve also gone through this procedure and he falls in with a wider group who use this loophole to engage every single hedonistic whim.

Anyone familiar with Possessor will have some insight into Cronenberg’s preoccupations, and they’re all on display here: the dehumanising effects of extreme violence, transgressive sex, out-of-body experiences, transgressive psychedelic out-of-body sex experiences. It’s not longer after James watches his clone be graphically stabbed to death that higher existential considerations are forgotten and Infinity Pool becomes an exercise in chaos and depravity spearheaded by two of modern cinema’s most gung-ho actors going fully off the deep end.

Skarsgård is transformative, starting off as a mild-mannered, even somewhat meek guy, riding on the coattails of his wealthy wife. Then at various stages he’s slobbering like a rabid dog, revisiting his terrifying Berserker persona from The Northman, or tripping his way through a series of petty cruelties against a man he believes has wronged him. But even his performance is overshadowed by the bugnuts majesty of Mia Goth. Her name on a cast list is usually indicative of something at least slightly off-kilter (with her appearance in Emma looking like a very large outlier now), but even by her standards this is an insane display. Every aspect of Gabi is played for its full maximalist potential, and she keeps finding new crescendos to hit at every turn. It’s a role of pure sensualism in a film that demands it.

Needless to say, Infinity Pool isn’t for the faint-hearted. Although there’s nothing quite as mad as the body-shifting, metaphysical threesome, or the scene in which Sean Bean’s head is slowly taken to pieces in Possessor, by any assessment the level of sex and violence is extreme; many would say gratuitous. If you want semen dripping on sand, a man’s head beaten to a pulp, and hallucinatory morphing genitals, then this s very much the holiday destination for you. Cronenberg’s premise asks questions that it never really intends to answer, but how much existential pondering do you really need when you get a group of nutters cheering on the execution of their doppelgangers like they’re watching sport?

Screening as part of Sundance Film Festival