‘What doesn’t kill you makes your richer’
Cheap Thrills is a 2013 American black comedy thriller horror film, directed by E. L. Katz in his directorial debut and starring Pat Healy (Starry Eyes), Sara Paxton (The Innkeepers), Ethan Embry and David Koechner. It premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 8, 2013, and was acquired by Drafthouse Films and Snoot Entertainment. Cheap Thrills was released on March 24, 2014, in the United States.
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 encounters an old friend (Ethan Embry). The two friends 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 engage 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…
“It’s about as subtle as a massive brick to the head, but that doesn’t stop it being joyously entertaining in a thoroughly mean-spirited fashion. Cheap Thrills is like the younger, punk rock second-cousin to the likes of Haneke and von Trier and it leaves no holds barred, so be prepared…” Brutal as Hell
“E.L. Katz’s Cheap Thrills is a very effective piece of body horror, teasing in its attempts to keep the audience guessing, but the cruel irresistibility of its premise wears itself out before the film’s final minutes.” Slant Magazine
“Cheap Thrills is everything you’d want out of a satirical thriller and more; it’s also a remarkable directorial debut by Katz, who delivers one hell of a story that was continuously surprising, shocking and visceral with wildly unexpected events that were often played out with a quiet restraint.” Dread Central