In "Thoroughbreds," a sleek and stylish revenge story, a young teenage girl named Lily lives in a wealthy, upscale home in Connecticut with her carefree mother and absurdly angry stepfather. As she's living her life in acceptance of her terrible stepfather, she rekindles a friendship with Amanda, a strange, emotionless girl she knew in middle school. After Amanda observes Lily's stepfather's demeanor, she suggests killing him. She isn't your normal type of friend. Lily, hesitant at first, jumps on board.

Anya Taylor-Joy plays Lily quite well, but even more praise goes to Olivia Cooke as Amanda. She cannot feel anything and often fake-cries. Early on in their time together, Amanda teaches Lily the "technique" to make tears pour from her eyes without sadness. Lily takes on Amanda's cold nature and uses it to extract her revenge.

It's hard to say from the beginning of the film what direction it'll take. Does Lily actually go through with it and murder a relative? Or will she chicken out? Her odd friend surely has no hesitance with the notion, but Lily is another story. It's this pairing of actors and character together that truly fuels this film.

The late Anton Yelchin played Tim, a man in his late 20s who was accused of statutory rape. He's a bad fellow and has a criminal record, so he's fit for the job. Lily and Amanda seek him out to do the dirty work for them, but not everything goes as expected here, as you can imagine. Yelchin's performance was probably the best in the film.


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He portrays a character with serious ethical issues. It was, unfortunately, his final performance, and this one shined as one of his best.

"Thoroughbreds" keeps you on your toes throughout, with unique and strange characters, but there are plenty of other elements as well that keep your attention.

The unusual musical score, in addition to the eccentric characters, adds to the uncomforting nature of the film. The score's use of violins and bongos in many of the songs penetrate our eardrums to enforce that what we are witnessing on the screen is not right. Again, this is not your typical revenge story.

Still, the film wasn't as fulfilling as I'd hoped it to be. While "Thoroughbreds" is a unique murder story, you don't get the satisfaction you seek, partly due to the lack of emotional connections between the characters and the audience. It's pretty difficult to relate to these two, even if we have had relatives we wouldn't mind disconnecting from.

In the end, we're left wanting more -- not necessarily with the ending itself, but with the film's overall connection with viewers. With revenge films like "Kill Bill" or "Gangs of New York," you can't help but root for the protagonist. This film either purposefully takes another direction or fails to keep us rooting for the main leads.

However, either way, despite the lack of connection, "Thoroughbreds" is a fun thriller that keeps us thinking, with some dark comedy thrown into the mix.

THE LOWDOWN

Best Scene: Tim's head incident

Weirdest Scene: See above

Grade: B+