|Index||6 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.
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.
While there have been similar movies with that theme, I did like this
one very much. It did go down very well with the Frightfest audience as
well. It is a little independent movie with a nice idea and some really
good actors in it. While at first I felt sad to see Sara Paxton play
this character, I have to admit, she's doing a great job once again,
playing off nicely with the other actors.
It's not many people that are involved and it's almost like a play (or it could be). But it works and you never think too much about it, because the setting and the people involved in it are far too interesting for you to catch onto that "trick". It may be a bit predictable, but that doesn't make it less "fun" (my definition of the word might be put under scrutiny, but we're talking about a movie here).
Relax, sit back and enjoy ...
Saw this movie at the Chicago International Film Festival with a buddy
and I've been thinking about it ever since. I mean that in a good way.
Before I continue, I would like to make clear that this movie isn't so
much a horror film as it is a very dark comedy and the less you know
going into this film, the better. It contains some good surprises and
twists not to be spoiled.
At the screening, the main actor was present and told the audience that it was OK to laugh. That little piece of advice was invaluable. It is worth noting that this movie won the Audience choice award at the SXSW film fest and I can confirm that it was well received in Chicago (based on audience laughter and applause). The premise is simple, but the execution, writing, and acting are complex and flawlessly executed; the combination of these elements were absolutely key to making this an enjoyable watch.
The film walked a very fine line and flirted more than once with turning into a twisted, gross mess, but it made the choice to stay true to the original premise and to the characters and in doing so it kept the attention of the audience. David Koechner's character was especially pivotal in performing this role. He delivers a fantastic performance and is perfectly cast in this. The three other primary actors also do an excellent job in their performances; they all were extremely challenging roles with lots of subtlety and depth. If you are into dark - very dark - comedies that push the limits of what is decent and right, you will find a well done and enjoyable flick here. But be forewarned, there are a number of grimace worthy moments in this one so it's better watching with an equally twisted friend.
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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
CHEAP THRILLS (2013) ** Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, David Koechner, Amanda Fuller. Part-black comedy, part horror film about two hard-on-their-luck friends who bump into each other on a fortuitous night when they become friendly with an off-beat couple who engage them in a deadly betting game of one-upmanship that tests all matters of what is moral and when is enough enough. While David Chirchirillo & Trent Haaga clearly have seen their share of vintage anthology TV (i.e. "Alfred Hitchcock Presents ." & "Tales From The Crypt" where the plot line echoes an episode of each) the tension escalating flatlines no thanks to rather stilted direction by E.L. Katz despite a game cast and a few gnarly moments (but truly nothing 'horrific' or 'new').
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