March 23, 2014

VOD Review: Cheap Thrills (2014)

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2389182/
(aka Let's Make a Creepy Deal)
Release Date: On VOD and in Limited Release now.
Country: USA
Written by: David Chirchirillo and Trent Haaga.
Directed by: E.L. Katz.
Starring: Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, David Koechner, and Amanda Fuller.

Cheap Thrills made the Festival rounds throughout 2013 to some pretty solid praise.

Now that it's actually been released (at least here in the U.S.), we've got to say that the raves and accolades that it received over the course of the past year are absolutely well deserved.
Craig is a nice guy with a loving wife and baby, who loses his job. Already behind on his bills, and facing eviction, this drives him to go out and have a few drinks and drown his sorrows a bit. In the middle of his alcohol-fueled pity party, he runs into his old pal Vince; a small time hood who is always up for a crazy time, because he's real familiar with going to jail.

Craig should have just gone home.
Things begin to look up for the loser friends when they meet Colin and Violet, a couple that wants to party and has money to burn! They begin offering Craig and Vince various amounts of money to do fairly innocent, but mischievous things. As the night goes on though, and the monetary stakes increase, the friends are asked to do some increasingly insane things, because it's Violet's birthday...

"Is... is that the birthday cake?"
Will Craig win enough money to pay his rent and keep his family off the streets? Will Vince give in to his criminal instincts and do something stupid? Will someone have to bang Violet for money while her creeper husbands jerks one out on the couch? Far be it from us to spoil things here, but suffice it to say that by the end of the night, someone is losing a pinky... and maybe even a bunch of dignity.

"You want me to Roofie myself for $300?"
From top to bottom, Cheap Thrills was a really good flick. It was fun, disturbing, and it never rang false like so many of these types of flicks tend to do. It was just a simple movie about two twisted people who wanted to see how far they could push other people for money, and nothing more. It also it ended in a fairly honest way, which was nice to see for a change; there was no crazy twist or big reveal at the end, which would have mucked things up a bit.

Cheap Thrills played it pretty straight, and it was a better film for having done so.

How can evil be so damned cute?
The cast was perfect here too. Sara Paxton was hot (as always) and creepy as the mostly-silent wife. It was unsettling to watch her stare quietly around the periphery of a lot of scenes, because it made her come off as being truly sinister. We definitely wanted to know what was going on in her head as things unfolded, but we're kinda glad that it was left a bit vague.

David Koechner was maybe the best part of the movie for us, or at least the most interesting one; to see the normally hilarious guy playing it totally straight was great, especially since he did it so well. He didn't take things over the top, and he didn't revert to his comedic roots at all. He just went full dramatic and he nailed it.

Pat Healy and Ethan Embry were great too. I know we're going on an awful lot about the cast here, but they all did a really solid job with their roles, and they deserve the praise.

"Whammy!"
As a meditation on friendship, and how quickly people can cast it aside so easily when money is at stake, this movie was a bit of a downer. The way that Cheap Thrills ends, in relation to that theme, was really disturbing. It definitely left us a bit bummed out.

The "sex" scene was way creepier than it was sexy, mainly because it turned into a sort of forced orgy that no one wanted to be at... except for the creepy couple. We swear that we were waiting for David Koechner to yell "Whammy!" at its "climax."

That's right, Sara. It was creepy!
Cheap Thrills is not crazy gory, but the whole pinky thing was a nasty little bit. Then again, so was the part with the dog. Also, the beatings were pretty brutal. Fine, it was gory enough.

No nudity in this one, but Sara Paxton does pay some guy to give her a penetrating lap ride.

How do you say no to that?
 
We really wanted to post a picture of the last shot in the movie, because it was so... perfect. Iconic, even. We can't though, because it would be crazy spoilerish, so we'll just go ahead and say that the final shot topped the movie off nicely.

Money isn't everything. Also, never trust overly-friendly rich people... they probably just want to hurt you for their amusement.

We'd love to her her "Birthday Party!" photo album on her Facebook page.
Along with Big Bad Wolves, Cheap Thrills is our favorite movie of 2014 so far. It was likable on just about every level, and I can't imagine many Horror fans not loving the hell out of it. Now that it's finally available to see, you really owe it to your movie-loving selves to give it a rent. We'll be happily adding this one to our Blu-ray collection when it's available.

Cheap Thrills is available now on VOD via Amazon Instant, and is in Limited Release in a NYC and Austin.

B+

Does it get any more Cutie Pie than Sara Paxton? No. No it does not.

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