It was supposed to be an easy journey coming home after a long day at work for Stephanie (Nicole Pastor); instead, her body was found dead near a city river. From this opening credit scene, we are introduced to three different men. First, we see Dave (Jordan Fraser-Trumble) purchasing materials from a hardware store. The materials include tape, sheeting, rope, etc. We’re also introduced to another man named Troy (Kevin Dee), who is returning home by catching the train after a day at work and lives alone with a kitten. Lastly, the third man, Aaron (Damon Hunter), is seen packing a rifle, and shortly after getting ready, he says farewell to his son and wife. Dave picks up Aaron from his home, and the two continue to discuss their plans. We soon discover that these two men share a common interest and take it upon themselves to kidnap Troy at night. Dave and Aaron successfully capture Troy using a drug injection, knocking him unconscious.
Dave and Aaron have an objective to take justice into their own hands. Troy is, in fact, a committed felon who has been released from prison. Dave and Aaron feel he should have never been released, and they both feel his original sentence was too short, given Troy’s horrible crime. Dave and Aaron lost someone close to them, and taking Troy out in the bush with no one else around gives them the perfect opportunity to dish out both revenge and what they claim will be suitable justice for their loss. Can Dave and Aaron stick to the original plan? Will Dave and Aaron get caught in the act? Or will Troy find a way to escape and survive?
“The Cost” is a slowly burning drama with minor thriller moments and tension, particularly in the film’s third act. Performance-wise, I found Jordan Fraser-Trumble and Damon Hunter worked well together, with Kevin Dee as Troy being a weaker aspect. The film’s visuals are excellent, including the central location within the bush. The audio track is also solid, and lines of dialogue are spoken firmly and clearly. Most of the film is slowly paced, with Dave and Aaron going step by step with their plan and encountering various hurdles and surprises. One example is when, shortly after kidnapping Troy and placing him in their car boot, a police officer soon pulls them over due to a broken brake light. As a thriller, some viewers may find various moments tense, partially as Troy pleads for his life while imprisoned in the woods or when Dave and Aaron’s plans are interrupted by nearby strangers.
However, as a plot, the hurdles and interruptions Dave and Aaron face sadly feel predictable and cliché. It also comes as no surprise that Dave and Aaron have disagreements surrounding their plans, and perhaps one of them is starting to change their heart. The film also plays out with a familiar beat by beat as a story. From being pulled over by a police officer to being interrupted by locals and watching Troy attempting to escape are some of the more exciting moments. However, the film fails to be gripping and surprising because it is primarily evident and familiar. At best, the film manages to dish out some surprises in its final moments, but sadly, it is a long journey to get there. Moments of bickering between Dave and Aaron are also nothing new, and again, it’s highly expected and can be tedious to watch.
Overall, “The Cost” introduces an engaging, solid crime story that will intrigue some viewers. The feature is also clear and stunning with its visuals, and the clarity of the film’s audio track is pleasing. Leading performances from Jordan Fraser-Trumble and Damon Hunter are also great and, at key moments, compelling. Sadly, as a story, it is a drawn-out journey that felt longer than necessary. There are many moments here that are either predictable or feel cliché, which also makes the film less gripping and dramatic. Granted, the film’s end and finale warrant some impact, but it’s a lengthy and somewhat tedious journey to get there.
The Cost (2022) is Available on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from October 18th.