E.L. Katz

Drafthouse Films

The past couple of years seemed to see a rash of films dealing with the somewhat similar plot device of people doing increasingly dangerous, disgusting or risky things for cold, hard cash. 13 Sins, Would You Rather and others deal with the idea in different ways, but one of the most celebrated of the bunch is E.L. Katz‘s Cheap Thrills. The film follows a down on his luck man named Craig (Pat Healy) who’s fired from his job on the same day he receives an eviction notice. With a wife and baby son counting on him he willingly steps into a bizarre scenario involving a wealthy, thrill-seeking couple (David Koechner and Sara Paxton) willing to pay Craig and his friend (Ethan Embry) to take part in a series of often grotesque challenges. Things go about as well as you’d expect. It’s an alternately funny and tragic film that walks an incredibly fine and blackly-comic line, and it’s just been released on Blu-ray/DVD from Drafthouse Films. Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for Cheap Thrills.

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review cheap thrills

Like anyone else, I am all too aware that the economy isn’t doing so well. As a writer, I’ll gladly take an extra article for a quick buck or an extra sandwich. But Cheap Thrills, the new dark – dark – comedy from director E.L. Katz is taking that concept to another level and putting its protagonist through a night of hell as he tries to make ends meet. When the married father of a newborn (Pat Healy) loses his job and faces eviction, he can’t comprehend how he’s going to fix his situation. Enter David Koechner and Sara Paxton, who play a bored, impossibly rich couple who offer him and his friend (Ethan Embry) wads of cash to complete a series of dares and tasks over the course of one night. As the night wears on, however, the dares get more gruesome and provocative as the amount of cash increases. And it all looks like good, sick fun. Are those missing fingers I (don’t) see at the end? As equal parts thriller and dark comedy, it’s fodder for hiding behind your fully-attached fingers as this poor dude’s “night of his life” unfolds. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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