January 31, 2023

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‘The Price We Pay’ Review: Crooks on the Run Get a Horrible Surprise

3 min read

Genre fans will get their money’s worth from “The Price We Pay,” a violent and terrifying crime-horror-action outing that doesn’t pretend to be anything else. What this story of rogues hiding on a lonely farm with a terrifying secret lacks in originality is made up for by Ryuhei Kitamura (“Midnight Meat Train”), excellent practical gore effects and strong performances from a talented cast including Emile Hirsch. , Stephen Dorff and Gigi Zumbado. The kind of no-nonsense exploitation film that was once ’em hootin’ in grindhouse, the VOD-available “Price” will be released in limited screens on January 13 by Lionsgate.

After Grace (Zumbado from “Bridge and Tunnel”) enters a pawn shop on the outskirts of a dusty town, the bodies begin to pile up. Down on her luck and badly indebted to the store’s lazy owner, Grace barely has time to stop her advances before a joint attack by armed robbers Cody (Dorf), Alex (Hirsch) and Alex’s brother Shane (Tanner Zagarino). After an impressively staged bloodbath, Grace is taken hostage and forced to act as a getaway driver.

With Shane badly injured and roadblocks everywhere, Grace drives down a dirt road into the middle of nowhere. In the time-honored tradition of such stories, his car breaks down nearby on what appears to be an abandoned farm. By now we’ve discovered that Cody is an ex-army medic with at least something of a conscience, Grace grew up as an army brat, and Alex is a smiling psychopath who enjoys the act of killing and scolds his brother for whining about his life-threatening bullets. wound

Far from being abandoned, the farm is home to Danny (Tyler Sanders), a nervous teenager who shelters Cody and company for the night. The tone Danny adopts when he says “my grandpa is out right now” leaves no doubt that terrible things will happen when grandpa returns. Sure enough, Grandpa (played by Aussie actor Vernon Wells as the post-apocalyptic fighting machine Wedge in “The Road Warrior”) is a deranged doctor who’s built a massive surgery-laboratory-prison complex beneath the innocent-looking family homestead.

The only ho-hum parts of the film are those in which Grandpa performs his dastardly deed while listening to the famous Nasun Dorma aria from Puccini’s “Turandot” and pontificates about his glorious mission to rid the world of evil men and give them hope. less fortunate But these are only minor hiccups in an otherwise steady survival thriller punctuated by extremely hairy non-elective surgeries and gruesome corpse disposal operations led by Grandpa’s masked female sidekick, Jody, 6-foot-8 model-turned-actress Erica Ervin, aka. Amazon Eve (“American Horror Story”).

Dorff is rock hard as a soft-hearted ex-military man. In her highest profile feature film role to date, Zumbado is convincing and appealing as the troubled young woman whose quick thinking is the key to her survival. Hirsch relishes the opportunity to play a psycho psycho, but is let down by scripting that initially gives his character some interesting details such as a motivation for dice-rolling but ultimately fails to make Alex as interesting or dangerous as he is.

Kitamura’s stylish direction, DP Matthias Schubert’s vivid, colorful cinematography and a crunching score by Kitamura’s frequent collaborator Aldo Schlaku ensure that even such familiar surroundings have a dull moment. We’ve been down this road before and we’ll go there again, but “The Price We Pay” has enough gas in the tank to make the detour worthwhile. On a very sad note, the film is dedicated to the memory of Tyler Sanders, who tragically passed away on June 12, 2022 at just 18 years old.

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