‘The Price We Pay’ draws from the full gamut of horror/exploitation tropes and meshes them together into a movie which still manages to entertain, despites its familiar themes.
The plot opens with our protagonist, Grace, whose day of struggling to pay bills only gets worse when the pawn shop she’s haggling in gets targeted by armed robbers. With the violence escalating, and shots fired, she’s captured by the gang and forced into acting as their getaway driver.
Figuring the cops are on their tail they hope to lay low in a rural farm house, however they quickly learn that there’s a reason this place is so intentionally off the grid..
So, I can’t really begin this review by hyping the plot too much, because let’s face it, aside from the farmhouse’s ‘secret’ this reverse home invasion style film has been done time and time again (think ‘Frontiers’ but a less ‘European’ motive); that said, the characters, or perhaps more so the performances really make this movie an easy one to recommend; if you’re in the market for some unashamed horror-exploitation that is.
To keep the story moving there’s sort of two plots running into each other, with the plight of the robbers getting us into the film’s context, and then the typical torture-porn exploitation which dominates the latter half of the movie delivering in spades exactly the carnage we came to see.
To get us going there’s some interesting dynamics within the group of robbers – again the typical tropes come into play, but the performances are strong, particularly the dynamics shown between the ‘noble’ thief Cody (Stephen Dorff) and the madman Alex (Emile Hirsch); the back and forth between these guys adds a degree of tension, with Grace (Gigi Zumbado) playing an interesting role as both mediator and cooperating captive; and by the time this has run its course, things go absolutely bat shit crazy in the farm house!
To be honest, whilst I’d already come to terms with the cookie cutter plot, I as I’ve said, I’d got on board with the characters, however when the carnage truly kicks off its satisfying relentless.
I’m not going to spoil the reveal, but needless to say the table are turned and once the torture stuff gets going its bloody and deliciously gratuitous. The practical effects are awesome, and honestly, considering the high production values and reasonably conceivable plot, I was not expecting it to kick off and escalate in the way it did. There are some CGI parts, but they are so over the top, all was forgiven, and all the cat-and-mouse stuff sufficiently cruel. Eyes removed, hearts, still beating, ripped from conscious victims, the big climax too, just the icing on the cake, sees a completely balls out riff on the Texas-chainsaw’s iconic chase.
Whilst the violence never spills over into anything too exploitative – at least from a sexualised aspect, the film is intense enough to leave you feeling like you’ve had more than your money’s worth!
Overall, not a lot more to say. ‘The Price we Pay’ simply does what it sets out to do, no moulds broken, just a satisfyingly visceral entry into the torture-porn genre. If you’re wanting something satisfyingly gratuitous, this will satiate.