Cheap Thrills follows Craig (Pat Healy, Compliance), 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 encounters an old friend (Ethan Embry, Empire Records). The two friends are roped into a round of drinks by a charismatic and obscenely wealthy stranger (David Koechner, Anchorman 2) along with his mysterious wife (Sara Paxton, The Inkeepers). The couple engages the two 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. (c) DrafthouseWritten by
From Rotten tomatoes
In a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Pat Healy revealed that he and Ethan Embry did not get along throughout production but later made amends and respect each other after finishing the film. See more »
At the beginning of the movie, we see Craig draining the oil from a car. He unscrews the sump plug and black, used motor oil flows from the sump. In the next shot, from another angle, the oil continues flowing, but it's visibly new, clear motor oil. See more »
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.
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