Film Review - Cheap Thrills
Directed by E.L. Katz (Autopsy, Pop Skull) this is the story of Craig, played with everyman perfection by Pat Healy. The movie starts off so very sweet with some morning nookie and then very quickly turns into Craig's worst day. Ever. While leaving for work, he gives his wife his last twenty dollar bill, he finds an eviction notice on his front door and then he goes to work only to be let go. So, what does Craig do? He goes to the bar for a drink, obviously.
This is where Craig runs into his old friend Vince (Ethan Embry). The two have not seen one another for five years and neither of them is as successful as they had hoped. Vince and Craig make fast friends with Colin (David Koechner) and Violet (Sara Paxton); this is a couple out on the town, celebrating Violet's birthday. It is made immediately clear that Colin has an enormous amount of money and has no problem spending it; he wants to give Violet everything she wants and he will abuse anyone to do that.
What quickly transpires from here is an escalating game of "what will you do for this amount of money?" This all starts off innocently enough with harassing waitresses, smacking a stripper's ass and getting into a fight. When Craig and Vince go back to Colin and Violet's house, though, things really begin to get out of control. For a hot minute, Vince has a grand plan to rob Colin, but that doesn't go as planned. We never find out why Colin has so much money, we just know that Craig and Vince are like the rest of us; living paycheck to paycheck. These two men need money and Colin will pay them to do humiliating and self harming things just to entertain Violet.
Let the games begin.
Initially, Violet acts as a passive observer, but then we realize that she is really the one that is controlling the situation. The events that occur in this house of excess are hilarious, disgusting, shocking, dehumanizing, and violent. Healy and Embry are so easy to invest in, despite their characters' flaws, that you find yourself, simultaneously, laughing at them and with them. You cringe at some of the acts that they perform and you may even, much like myself, say "Oh My God!" out loud at one or more moments. This is the kind of movie that you view with an equal mix of delight and horror. I can guarantee that you really have no idea where this story is going to take you, but you will love every second of it. You may feel a wee bit guilty about loving it, but you won't forget it and the last shot is a visual that sticks with you. It is perfection.
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Image from IMDb