Movie listings at Broadway Cinema in Eureka on March 19, including "Thoroughbreds." Photo by Matthew Hable.

“Thoroughbreds” is a richly dark comedy


People are terrible and horses will take over the world.

“Thoroughbreds” is the debut film of writer and director Cory Finley. It is about two rich girls plotting their stepfather’s murder, but there’s more to it. It’s less a murder mystery, but a character study on emotions and impulses.

The character Amanda is an emotionless girl who hasn’t fully outgrown her horse phase. She speaks her mind and is blunt about it, including her lack of emotions. Lily is an emotionally overwhelmed girl who guards herself from hurting others.

The two were formerly friends until high school separated them, only to be reunited by studying for the SAT’s.

After taking down their reservations, they become friends again. Lily hates her health-obsessed stepdad who talks down to her and forced her mom to send her to a different boarding school. Amanda casually suggests killing him and Lily’s impulsive mindset kicks into gear to plotting his murder.

This film doesn’t focus on the girls’ lavish lives. It’s just a perfect background to plot a murder without getting caught. The mansions look big and beautiful to fill in the background of the actors’ symmetrical framing.

The sound editing and mixing stand out with it’s unsettling and chic percussion. The rhythmic score gave it a constant edge that could lead to a psychotic breakdown, which compliments the impulsiveness of the characters.

Little sounds fill the scenes that reflect the emotions of the characters. Lily’s tapping of a pen mimics a clock too well, the rowing of her stepdad’s row machine irritates her and the sliding sound is invasive like Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

The characters aren’t simply rich brats. Even if Amanda doesn’t understand emotions, she is still expressive and her brutal honesty is refreshing. Lily is sympathetic when she feels helpless not standing up to her stepdad yelling at her mom.

The rest of the cast is good, but the highlight is Anton Yelchin, which was his last film since his death in 2016.

Lily and Amanda grow by the end of the film, yet whether if it was for their own good is up to you.

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