Cheap Thrills – Review ★★★★


Cheap Thrills is the impressive debut feature from E.L Katz and winner of the audience award at this year’s SXSW film festival. It follows a couple of friends Craig and Vince (Pat Healy and Ethan Embrey) who are so desperate for money that they agree to take part in a game with a rich man they meet in a bar, Colin (David Koechner – you’ll know him as Champ in Anchorman) and his trophy wife Violet (Sarah Paxton).

The pair are dared to do some outrageous things: $50 if you can get a woman to slap you, $500 if you get yourself into a bar fight. The game soon escalates into increasingly bloody and dangerous challenges that threaten the men’s marriages, careers and lives. The only question that remains is how far they will go when the stakes are raised.

Cheap Thrills is not your typical horror film by any account, in fact it’s more drama and comedy than anything else, and yet it manages to shock, scare, and haunt you for hours afterwards.

Pat Healy (last seen on our screens as the vindictive police-impersonator in Compliance) is perfectly cast as a man with nothing left to lose, and Koechner excels as a kind of evil ringleader too, bringing in dark humour in spades.

It’s a surprisingly exhilarating piece of filmmaking considering its modest budget, and proves that a good idea can be the only thing you need to make an edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller.

Cheap Thrills can be seen at Film4 Frightfest on August 24. For more information and tickets click HERE.

Flossie Topping is the former Editor-in-Chief of Critics Associated (2013-2015).