The latest from director Ryûhei Kitamura (Versus, The Midnight Meat Train), this grisly picture tracks the fallout from a pawn shop robbery gone awry. When one of their number is shot, and the getaway driver scarpers, Cody (Stephen Dorff), Alex (Emile Hirsch, morphing into Garth Marenghi with age) and Shane (Tanner Zagarino) are stranded. Taking a young woman (Gigi Zumbado) hostage, the gang steal her car and flees to the countryside. There, they hole up in an isolated farm cabin while they wait for extraction.
This, being a Ryûhei Kitamura movie, is the tip of the iceberg. Those who have seen Midnight Meat Train and No One Lives will be waiting on tenterhooks for the inevitable genre shift. Unlike his previous work, the seams are more obvious here – thanks, in part, to glaring similarities to From Dusk Till Dawn – but it is fun trying to predict where exactly all of this is headed.
Until then, it’s all character work and three fine performances from Dorff, Hirsch and Zumbado. While Hirsch’s buggy psychopath routine is a bit Dusk-Till-Dawn-Tarantino, he’s a lot of fun (and a better performer than Tarantino could ever hope to be), and plays nicely against the gruffer, stoic Dorff.
As best-laid plans fall apart and Kitamura goes off the chain, the full picture becomes known. To say more would be to spoil what Kitamura and screenwriter Christopher Jolley have in store. Suffice to say that those tuning in for extreme gore and visceral violence will not be disappointed.
This is a film of two halves – neither one particularly new or original, but both of them directed by the singular talent which is Ryûhei Kitamura.
THE PRICE WE PAY is released digitally in the UK on October 16th, 2023,