review-cheap-thrills-e1363854429391
One of the best examples of cinematic schadenfraude in recent memory, first-time director E.L. Katz takes two down on their luck losers and pits them against each other – for money, and the delight of a bored, affluent couple with nothing to do. It’s The Most Dangerous Game for the reality TV show generation, where sports and game shows simply aren’t enough to keep folks entertained anymore, and drugs and booze alone simply don’t have enough kick.

Pat Healy is on great form as the barely-likable heel who loses the shitty job that was never really gonna keep his young wife ad newborn baby adequately fed and housed. Wallowing in self pity he heads to a bar, where he runs into Ethan Embry’s old school pal, and they start a proper session. When they team up with a rich, bored and seemingly up-for-anything couple – David Koechner and Sara Paxton – they soon find themselves competing against each other for cash, with each new challenge more ridiculous than the last.

While it’s fair to say that there’s really only one direction this film can go in, Katz and Co draw huge pleasure, tension and thrills from dreaming up increasingly outlandish, grotesque and violent feats of self-harm and deprecation along the way, and Healy and Embry go at it with both barrels blazing. The result is a pitch black comedy thriller that is as disgusting as it is hilarious, and pretty much the perfect midnight movie to see with a drunk and rowdy crowd looking for a fun time.

Advertisements