Cheap Thrills

2014

Cheap Thrills

Critics Consensus

Gleefully nasty and darkly hilarious, Cheap Thrills lives down to its title in the best possible way.

88%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 98

69%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,200
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Movie Info

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) Drafthouse

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Critic Reviews for Cheap Thrills

All Critics (98) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (12)

  • Gird your stomach for Cheap Thrills, a bloody but enjoyably ironic horror which enters that queasy zone where Michael Haneke's Funny Games meets a reality-TV bush tucker trial.

    Sep 23, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Kate Muir

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • It's a thought-provoking ride, particularly in a post-financial crisis world where a combination of desperation and temptation can make anyone consider doing the unthinkable.

    Jun 6, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • The script is smarter than the premise sounds, with writers David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga dispensing enough information to make victims both sympathetic and despicable, the instigators charismatic and sinister.

    Jun 5, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • A bluesy drinking session evolves into messy violence for kicks in this nifty debut feature from E L Katz.

    Jun 5, 2014 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • There are satisfying echoes of Stephen King's sly black humour in this deliciously nasty comedy thriller.

    Jun 3, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Nigel Floyd

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Screenwriters David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga pose a simple question -- how much will a person degrade himself to make ends meet? -- but it's a potent one, at least for those of us who ponder it every Monday through Friday.

    Apr 10, 2014 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Cheap Thrills

  • Dec 13, 2017
    Craig Daniels (Pat Healy) is having a hell of a day. He's been fired on the very same day he's recieved an eviction notice on his front door. Content to drink his troubles away, Craig runs into an old friend from High School. Together they start catching up and run into a unique couple, a couple who starts offering them money simply for doing oddball things for their amusement. The duo agrees and even goes back to the couples house with them, and that's when things really start to get bizarre. I feel like I've seen something similar and far more serious before, but I can't place my finger on it. What I really liked about this film was that despite it's B-movie status, and obvious lack of quality writing, what goes down isn't as expected as you would think. A lot of it really was surprising and they do spare us the pain and torture of doing what is obvious. I also enjoyed Pat Healy as Craig, he's not the kind of character you'd expect to see in a movie like this, and he added an interesting dynamic to a cast that was otherwise pretty droll. Cheap Trills has a few funny and unexpected moments in it, and to be honest it was better than I thought it would be. It still however very much deserves it's B-movie status and reeks of inexperience.
    Todd S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2014
    Cheap Thrills is a great thrill and gives the viewer a run for its money (no pun intended). With $250k up for grab, it's up to Pat Healy and Ethan Embry's characters to battle it out, bet for bet, to see who takes home more cash by the end of a crazy night. Sara Paxton and David Koechner play the convincing eccentric married couple who are literally getting their cheap thrills through the other two. I like the four person cast. It keeps things focused and localized and on point. As each bet gets wilder and more dangerous, more money is on the line. Things start out innocently enough before the tide turns half way through the movie to violence and sadistic pranks. It's really dark humor for a film about a man who is married looking to support a wife and child after getting fired from his already low-paying job going against a former high school friend who is a borderline criminal. Big blockbusters don't always hold the sway of the audience compared to complete films like these independents do. At a quick hour and 20 minutes, Cheap Thrills gets you from point A to point B in a fun, slightly disturbing, romp over the course of one night to see who wins the grand prize.
    Lane Z Super Reviewer
  • Sep 25, 2014
    Derivative schlocky thrills of the escalating dares for money variety (Which Would You Rather and 13: Game of Death being two recent examples). What keeps this film interesting are the charismatic leads, black humour and one of the oddest sex scenes I've ever seen.
    Daniel P Super Reviewer
  • Aug 04, 2014
    I know we're supposed to laugh along as the two lead characters are humiliated and debased, but I can't help but feel violated by director E.L. Katz as the film delves into the twisted and depraved.
    Eddie C Super Reviewer

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