REVIEW: The Price We Pay (2022)

dir. Ryûhei Kitamura

Arriving at a pawn shop to settle her debts Grace (Gigi Zumbado) finds that money troubles are the least of her worries when the store gets robbed. As the heist goes askew and the crims take Grace hostage their escape vehicle breaks down on an unoccupied road and – after taking refuge in a remote farmhouse – they discover that something even more dangerous lurks nearby.

With an opening that sees lawless rogues take ordinary people captive, Christopher Jolley’s screenplay feels inspired by From Dusk Till Dawn in how a straightforward crime thriller transitions into wackier, more horror-inflected territory, a bizarre turn heralded by the arrival of Vernon Wells’ Doctor and his hulking sidekick.

Zumbado does effective work as someone trying to keep a level head when thrust into an increasingly macabre scenario. The closest thing to an ally is Cody (Stephen Dorff), the criminal ringleader intent on keeping his own code, whilst wild-card Alex (an intense Emile Hirsch) threatens to throw a wrench into the already escalating situation.

What’s unfortunate is how exposition bogs down the mid-section. Thankfully things pick up for the last act, director Kitamura (Versus; The Midnight Meat Train) handling the grisly elements with glee – and buckets of gore – in a truly gonzo finale which merges The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Saw and his own hyper-kinetic aesthetic.

© James Rodrigues


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