|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|Index||27 reviews in total|
Saw this at SXSW and I must admit it was very well done. This won the
Audience Award for the Midnighters at the festival and it is
wholeheartedly deserved. The film is a hybrid genre film with a
constantly shifting tone of hilarity, drama, thrills, and extremely
The story follows everyman Craig (Pat Healy, who should finally get some deserved recognition for his extremely demanding role in this) who is down on his luck after having a really bad day. He hits the local bar on the way home from work and sees an old high school buddy (Ethan Embry, in an against-type role that completely works) and the two meet up with a strange couple that wants to have a drink with them (David Koechner and Sara Paxton, who are both deliciously hilarious and mysterious). The four then have what can only be described as a truly horrific night and that is all I really want to say about it because the less you know the better. The concept of the film is laid out easily and quickly, which is developed fully throughout the film as the stakes are raised higher and higher with every passing minute.
I must say that I was very happy to see the movie take so many risks. The content of the film is definitely not for the faint at heart, but if you like envelope-pushing pieces than this is the film for you. Im sure this will divide audiences, but the theater I was in had a great energy and made the film really fun to watch. The director EL Katz introduced the film and told the audience that "it is okay to laugh." After seeing the film, I understand why he said that. There are so many uncomfortable, cringe-inducing moments in the film that the only thing to do is either to curl up in the fetal position or laugh your head off. I had no clue where it was going and the final image in the film will go down as a classic final shot. It is perfection.
People will be definitely talking about this one. It is highly entertaining, the performances are excellent, the writing is tight, and the content of the film is entirely original and unpredictable. I actually saw it twice during SXSW and it was even better a second time. Tons of twists and turns, so please DO NOT spoil it for yourself. Go into it with little knowledge and enjoy the twisted mayhem.
Pat Healey of The Innkeepers fame plays a family man and blue collar
worker who receives an eviction notice and is laid off on the same day.
On the way home, he runs into an old friend at a bar, and the two of
them run into an eccentric rich couple played by David Koechner and
Sara Paxton (again of The Innkeepers) who propose a twisted series of
games for money at their private residence.
To compete against each other for large rewards, Craig and Vince engage in more and more disturbing acts of depravity, self-mutilation and moral bankruptcy.
This is a shocker, and a hard-to-watch one at that. What keeps it bearable is that it's a very FUNNY shocker, particularly with Koechner providing most of the black comedy.
Ultimately this is an allegorical haves-and-have-nots tale that looks at the lengths people will go to in the name of financial desperation. The climax is disturbing and had me doing some sharp self-reflection. Not bad for a first-time director and a tiny budget.
I saw this film as part of The Melbourne International Film Festival and needless to say i am so happy this was on my list. I wasn't really sure what to expect with this film. The summary on MIFF was telling me it was a dark comedy yet the trailer gave me none of that. Don't you hate that? When they sell a film completely out of context. Same thing happened with You're next (Horror/comedy) another film i saw at MIFF which i loved too but the trailers sold it completely as a horror. back to the film though 2 guys with financial troubles bump into each other at a bar and coincidentally meet a rich man and his wife who give them money for dares. As the night continues the stakes continue to rise and so does the money. A pretty simple idea that was executed extremely well. Pat Healy is fantastic in his role as Craig And massive props to David Koechner. I didn't know you could make such dark material hilarious. I'm not going to give anything else away just take my word and go see it. I know this movie had a limited release but if it turns up on DVD or online somewhere just watch it already.
I started out thinking I was in for a one star cheap production. Suggested by the cheap cover and the usual money saver of no subtitles along with Drafthouse Films and Snoot Films as the production companies. That, plus the cheap one room setting, did not put me into an accepting frame of mind. I was thinking along the B level film lines of Tarantino. But, about a third of the way into the film I began to glimpse it's potential. The judgmental viewer exploring forbidden territories in human behavior. The apparent raising of the stakes is not what carries the film - it's the great writing, acting (especially Paxton's mostly nonverbal communication), camera work and directing. Candidly funny, alternating with candidly disturbing, displays of what humans are capable of when fenced in by certain restraints. A good film for a psych or soc class as a vehicle for student discussion. Some alternate endings would have made it even more interesting.
Why this film is labelled with the genre of comedy unfathomable to me.
It is all thriller. A tense, dark and ultimately disturbing film. I'm
sure if it had been made differently it could easily have been funnier
but in its current format it contains no mirth whatsoever.
The plot of the film is undoubtedly summarised in other reviews and by IMDb itself so I won't waste your time here. I will say that it escalates slower than I might have liked and ends abruptly and shockingly a short while after things had gotten very tense and I had started to pay proper attention and sit on the edge of my seat in anticipation.
I enjoyed this film but it is probably not something I would watch again. I will however be on the look out for more films by E. L. Katz as if they're anything like this then they're going to be just as dark and stomach twisting. A thrill ride if ever there was one.
I did not expect to like this movie. It slowly pulled me in, and then
gave me a four course meal of desperation, humor, horror, and ethics.
Cheap Thrills has a little story, but it's big in suspense, intrigue, and insanity.
This movie is an opus of dark humor. You can't help but enjoy the ridiculousness of it all, because the story and characters are so believable, that it makes the mayhem seem entirely plausible.
The best part of Cheap Thrills are the moments of realization that I had just thinking about the characters. There's a subtle depth to the movie that will offer something extra to the thinkers in the audience.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This movie was an unexpected delight.
Two old friends meet in a bar by chance, their lives have taken them on far different paths but their bond of friendship endures.
One guy needs money bad. He and his wife have a baby, he lost his job and early plot background quickly and effectively outlines his dour situation.
They meet a man and his wife in a bar, the man is flashing loads of cash and seems very interested in sharing and 'partying'.
David Koechner deserves special mention for an excellent portrayal of a man who refuses to place moral restrictions on his or his wife's entertainments.
I enjoyed it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
At 1 and a half hours long, this movie never bores. The characters
behave realistically. There was never a moment where I questioned what
they were doing on screen, and the way the characters behaved hinted
brilliantly at what was to come.
The arc the main character goes on is great. At the start, he's an utterly defeated man in a financial pit. He has a rigid personality and doesn't take risks. But by the end, he has committed despicable deeds.
As I said, it's funny. The character reactions are both believable and hilarious. For instance, when Colin says "I'm cumming, too, baby" in response to his wife yelling, "I'm gonna cum!", and Vince goes, "Oh, f***, noo!" and promptly relocates away from Vince, I laughed out loud.
I would've liked to see more at the end -- give us more consequence to his actions, ie: how does his wife react? Do they go on living? Does she find out about what took place that night? Do they get divorced?
Overall, this movie is well worth a watch.
I have to admit I didn't feel attracted either by the poster or the
plot summary. Yet the experience was thrilling and full of surprises:
the acting of the four protagonists is excellent and I enjoyed it all
the way. Also, although the genre of psychological thriller is not my
cup of tea, the director did a great job creating a disturbing
atmosphere sustained by a very good script, good dialogues and deep
human characters. The first work of Katz as a director is, in my
opinion,a successful debut: the movie is filmed with great sensibility
and the art in general is perfectly in tone with what we feel from the
Highly recommendable, no doubt.
An allegory of sorts for the Occupy generation, "Cheap Thrills"
endeavors to answer the age-old question of just how far you would be
willing to go for a boatload of cash. Especially when you've just lost
your job, you're being evicted from your home, and you have a wife and
toddler counting on you for support. This is the dilemma facing Craig
(Pat Healy), an Average-Joe, mild-mannered urbanite who's genuinely
trying to play by the rules but who just keeps getting dumped on by a
world that seems dead-set against him ever achieving his portion of the
On the night he loses his job as a mechanic at a Southern California garage, Craig wanders into a local bar only to hook up with an old buddy of his from childhood (Ethan Embry) and an obnoxious, borderline- sadistic millionaire (David Koechner) who keeps tossing money at the two men whenever they perform impromptu, trivial tasks for him. Things turn serious, however, when Mr. Moneybags ups the ante, throwing out ever more enticing financial rewards for ever more vile and degrading stunts.
Though fairly simple and straightforward on the surface, "Cheap Thrills," written by Trent Haaga and David Chichirillo and directed by E.L Katz, is really a modern-day parable about greed, desperation, exploitation and the dangers of unbridled macho bravado. It portrays, in miniature, a world in which a small number of people have virtually everything in terms of wealth and power, while the vast majority wind up with virtually nothing they can call their own. Craig and Vince have so little to lose, in fact, that they are willing to go to unimaginable extremes to get at least something to keep themselves from feeling like total failures in life. They sense that their very identity as men is on the line here and, thus, they will stop at nothing to assert their primacy over one another, the first step in securing that which they feel is rightfully owed to them and their families.
Colin, along with his equally amoral wife, Violet (Sara Paxton), on the other hand, represents the callous 1% who amuse themselves at the expense of other people's desperation, going so far as to pit the have- nots against one another for the sheer pleasure of watching them brawling in the dirt over the scraps that are condescendingly thrown their way. This is Darwin's "survival of the fittest" as it is played out in 21st Century America.
Crude, brutal, at times unwatchable even, "Cheap Thrills," nevertheless, manages to get under the viewer's skin, forcing him to face harsh truths about society and human nature and to ask himself just how far he would be willing to go to get what he needed to survive. It doesn't paint a very flattering portrait of us as a species, but, let's face it, sometimes you don't always like what you see when you catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror.
|Page 1 of 3:||  |
|External reviews||Parents Guide||Official site|
|Plot keywords||Main details||Your user reviews|
|Your vote history|