The price we pay

The price we pay
Original title:The price we pay
Director:Ryuhei Kitamura
Running time:86 minutes
Release date:13 january 2023
After an intense heist at a pawn shop, Grace is taken hostage by the robbers. Forced to take refuge in a remote farmhouse late at night, they discover a secret dungeon with evidence of sadistic violence - and when Grandpa returns home, all hell breaks loose. Can Grace find the courage to escape the heartbreaking fate of her fellow criminals ?

Mulder's Review

The price we pay marks the return to the horror genre of director Ryuhei Kitamura after notably Versus (2003), Battlefield baseball (2003), the excellent The Midnight meat train (2008), No one lives (2012) and more recently Downrange (2017) and one of the stories of the anthology film Nightmare cinema (2018). His attempt to deviate from a genre he masters has often ended in failure as evidenced by the films Godzilla: Final Wars (2004), Lupin the third (2014) and the Doorman (2020) (despite the presence of French actor Jean Reno and actress Ruby Rose)). 

We can understand Ryuhei Kitamura's will to propose a horrific thriller with very gory scenes to try to direct a film closer to his know-how. Lately, the horror cinema seems to become fashionable again and to meet a large audience whether it is the numerous Blumhouse productions or independent films like the two Terrifiers which have marked the memory or even traumatized many spectators. 

It is also interesting to see that before its release in American theaters on January 13th and its release on VOD on January 10th, this film was presented in many important festivals such as FrightFest, Fantasy Filmfest, Grimmfest and the Busan International Film Festival and that the first echoes are rather good. Moreover, this horrific thriller allows us to see again two actors that we appreciate, Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) and Stephen Dorff (Blade), who are here in perfectly mastered roles.

The story of The Price We Pay is based on two distinct genres: a robbery and a hostage film to begin with, before turning to a horrific thriller set on a farm with a family of degenerates that has nothing to envy to the one of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) by Tobe Hooper. We follow the journey of Cody (Stephen Dorff), Alex (Emilie Hirsch) and their accomplice who, after a failed pawnshop robbery, take hostage a troublesome witness, Grace (Gigi Zumbado, Run Sweetheart Run), and decide to flee to escape the police. One of them being injured, they are forced to stop and hide in an isolated farmhouse and find themselves confronted by a family that is not very hospitable and takes great pleasure in torturing people. The confrontation is then inevitable and the robbers are going to plunge into hell with no real hope of getting out of it unscathed.

The script by Christopher Jolley, Todd Lundbohm, Robert Dean, Bill Kellman is not particularly original but allows director Ryuhei Kitamura to deliver some memorable scenes that make this film worth discovering for viewers who appreciate violent films that are well made and particularly bloody. 

One could also detect in this film three segments composed by a failed robbery, a confrontation turning to the successive mutilation of the robbers to finally end in a fierce confrontation between the hostage who seems to be the only innocent person in the story and this family of violent degenerates of which one of the members has nothing to send to Leatherface. While the introductory scene could have taken the film in a completely different direction, it must be admitted that the first two segments would have benefited from being faster and above all marked by more polished dialogues, especially with the presence of two popular and experienced actors, Emile Hirsch and Stephen Dorff.

Nevertheless, we spend a good time watching The Price We Pay because the director managed to create a real atmosphere to his film and benefits from the presence of the director of photography Matthias Schubert. Despite its budget that we feel reduced, The price we pay will succeed in convincing many spectators to discover this film.

The price we pay
Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura
Produced by Andre Relis
Written by Christopher Jolley, Todd Lundbohm, Robert Dean, Bill Kellman
Starring Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Gigi Zumbado, Amazon Eve
Music by Aldo Shllaku
Cinematography: Matthias Schubert
Edited by Shohei Kitajima
Production companies : VMI Worldwide, 828 Media Capital, Buffalo 8
Distributed by Lionsgate (United States)
Release date : January 13, 2023
Running time : 86 minutes

Seen on January 07, 2023 (press screener)

Mulder's Mark: