6.7/10
16,453
62 user 200 critic

Cheap Thrills (2013)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 21 March 2014 (USA)
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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.

Director:

E.L. Katz
9 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Pat Healy ... Craig Daniels
Sara Paxton ... Violet
Ethan Embry ... Vince
David Koechner ... Colin
Amanda Fuller ... Audrey Daniels
Laura Covelli ... Caryn the Bartender
Todd Farmer ... Security Guard
Elissa Dowling ... Tweaker
Eric Neil Gutierrez ... Enrique
Ruben Pla ... Doug
Claudia Salinas ... Stripper
Brighton Sharbino ... Luann
Eli McLaughlin Eli McLaughlin ... Keenan
Butch Butch ... Cutie
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Storyline

Craig (Pat Healy) is a struggling family man who loses his low-wage job and is threatened with eviction. In an effort to delay facing the music at home, he heads to a local bar and runs into an old friend (Ethan Embry). The 2 are roped into a round of drinks by a charismatic and obscenely wealthy stranger (David Koechner) along with his mysterious wife (Sara Paxton). The couple engages the pair friends in a series of innocent dares in exchange for money over the course of the evening, with each challenge upping the ante in both reward and boundaries. It seems like easy and much needed money, but the couple's twisted sense of humor pushes just how far Craig and his friend are willing to go for money and cheap thrills. Written by From Rotten tomatoes

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

What doesn't kill you makes you richer.


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 March 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Apuestas perversas See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,638, 23 March 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$59,379, 11 May 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one scene, David Koechner's character says his brother is a pharmacist. This is actually true--Koechner's brother owns the Kex Rx chain of pharmacies in Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri. See more »

Goofs

When Vince is challenged to hold his breath, after Craig speaks to Audrey on the phone Colin announces that Vince's time was 1 minute, 59 seconds. Later, when Vince asks what his time was, Colin says his time was 1 minute, 58 seconds. A difference of one second is significant in the context of the challenge. See more »


Soundtracks

I Suppose
Written by: Matt Hebert
Performed by: Haunt
Courtesy of: Wareriversongs
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User Reviews

 
Blummin' expensive thrills!
24 March 2015 | by asda-manSee all my reviews

Cheap Thrills has the type of concept which could easily live up to its title. Two rich sickos torturing a couple of poor strangers by daring them to do progressively twisted tasks could result in an exploitative B-movie designed to shock the audience for the sake of it. Thankfully, Cheap Thrills manages to offer much more than a few cheap thrills. It's actually an intelligent, engaging and darkly humorous little film with a few hints of postmodernism not too dissimilar to Funny Games.

Pat Healy and Sara Paxton made a terrifically witty duo in Ti West's limp, The Innkeepers and deserved to appear in a much better film. Cheap Thrills is that better film, and whilst Sara doesn't have particularly much to do, Pat puts on a similarly likable performance as the down on his luck protagonist, who we can all relate to. In fact, all of the characters manage to be engaging and interesting. I love how realistically the film progressed from a friendly encounter on a night out to a sick set of dares.

For a film largely set in one location with just four characters, it's never boring. Quite the opposite, in fact I was left wanting more and I think it could've pushed the boundaries more, but that's probably just my twisted horror nut coming out! Where the film actually succeeds is that it doesn't make the dares the focus of the entire film. Instead it's much more concerned with the characters and how they develop, thus making for a much better quality and more involving piece of filmmaking.

The comment it makes on society is quite heavy-handed but nevertheless an intelligent and relevant one. It's best to view the two rich psychos as symbols, rather than characters. They're obviously representative of the bourgeoisie and how they exploit the poor minority. However, the film also makes a subtle comment on the psychotic nature of audiences too. I thought that the ending kind of made out like the psychos were doing it all for us, the viewing public, thus adding another intelligent and postmodern layer to the film.

Overall the film is a striking debut and this E.L Katz bloke looks like he has a promising future in the horror movie industry. His directing was consistently intense and he managed to build some massive amounts of tension. Cheap Thrills may falter on repeated viewings (due to the lack of a surprise factor) but for a first time viewing there's very little to complain about. Perhaps it could've been a little more twisted, but really I was surprised by how intelligent the screenplay actually was. Cheap Thrills offers a lot more than its title suggests. It's probably one of the best horror-comedies we've had in a while.


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