Connect with us

Film Reviews

Cheap Thrills Review


Director: E.L. Katz.

Starring: Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, David Koechner, Sara Paxton.

Running Time: 85 Minutes.

Certificate: 18.

Synopsis: A scheming couple put a struggling family man and his old friend through a series of increasingly twisted dares over the course of an evening at a local bar.

Have you ever had one of those conversations in the pub where you’re asked what you’d do for a certain amount of money? We’ve all had them right? Fifty grand on the table, and it’s yours – all that you have to do is… well, you can fill in the blanks. CHEAP THRILLS takes that concept and develops it into a tight 90-minute feature.

Making his feature directing debut with CHEAP THRILLS is E.L. Katz, a filmmaker who has previously collaborated with the likes of Adam Wingard, writing the horror HOME SICK in 2007, and POP SKILL in the same year. This film shares a lot thematically and tonally with a lot of Wingard’s movies, so you’ll have an idea of what you’re in for if you’ve seen any of his genre films.

David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga’s script revolves around Craig (Pat Healy), a down on his luck mechanic who is served a final eviction notice on the same day that he loses his job. Choosing to drown his sorrows rather than go home to his wife to explain, Craig enters a seedy bar on the wrong side of town where he meets old friend Vince (Ethan Embry). After reminiscing about the old days over a couple of drinks, the duo meet wealthy married couple Colin (ANCHORMAN’s David Koechner) and Violet (Sara Paxton), who are both out to celebrate her birthday. What starts out as a couple of harmless, booze and drugs fuelled dares between them – like getting a drunk at the end of the bar to slap them in the face, or $100 to the the first to down a shot of tequila – soon turns into a game of exploitation, excess and greed.

CHEAP THRILLS entertains and enthralls from the get-go. It’s shocking, dirty, totally over-the-top, disgusting and darkly, darkly funny. Chirchirillo and Haag’s script clearly has a ton of influence from many other movies – we’re thinking early Tarantino and those dark stag-themed comedies from the nineties – mixed in with a little Ti West and Joe Swanberg. It’s incredibly well-paced, wonderfully acted – a stand-out being the always reliable David Koechner and newcomer Sara Paxton, who delivers a superbly muted performance as Violet.

It certainly won’t please all, with some scenes sensationally graphic and stomach-turning, but CHEAP THRILLS is a very solid debut from director Katz, who delivers a hugely enjoyable genre movie that definitely makes you feel the need for a bath as soon as you arrive home.

Disgustingly enjoyable, though viewers definitely mustn’t love dogs.

[usr=4] CHEAP THRILLS is released in limited UK cinemas from Friday 6th June, 2014.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Latest Posts


More in Film Reviews