Friday, May 30, 2014

"Cheap Thrills" Blu-Ray Review - Written by Anthony T

“Cheap Thrills” is a film that I’ve been waiting to see since I first heard about it last year. My interest in seeing this film was even doubled when I founded out that it stared Pat Healy whom I liked a lot in “Compliance” and “The Innkeepers” and Ethan Embry who was in “Empire Records” and the short lived TV show Freakylinks.

The film follows Craig (Pat Healy), a husband who recently lost his job and received and him and his family are facing eviction from their apartment. While at the bar, he comes across Vince (Ethan Embry) whom he hasn’t seen for years. As they begin drinking, they meet a couple (David Koechner, Sara Paxton) who are celebrating a birthday. They offer the two a lot of money for a harmless night of fun. As the money increases, the dares become more outrageous and inhuman. Craig and Vince’s night of fun all of sudden turns into a night of terror and self-destruction that may tear the both of them apart, as the couple is looking for cheap thrills.

One of the things that makes this film so good was its direction. First time director E.L. Katz does a very good job shocking you with the way that he handles some of the gross out action. He carefully makes sure that those scenes generate a reaction. A couple of those scenes almost made me want to throw up, but it achieved its purpose. Whether it was some of the disturbing violence to some of its shocking moments, Katz does a great job making sure those scenes gives the film’s its edginess tone. The other thing that makes the direction very good was that the way that Katz directs his cast. He does a very good job making sure the performances fits the film’s dark and shocking tone. It made all the main performances very good and made me interested in the film from start to finish.

Speaking of the performances, this is best ensemble cast of the year that I’ve seen so far. Pat Healy was very good here. He makes his character very conflicted about the situation that he’s caught up in and the things that he’s forced to do because of his bad luck. It made the character interesting that you’re into the story and into his character. But the person who really steals this film is David Koechner. I was very surprised that his performance wasn’t the same thing that he did in films like in the “Anchorman” films or “Piranha 3DD”. He does a very good job making his character very demented and twisted. It helped made his character work so well and it didn’t feel over the top like some of his other roles. It’s easily one of the best supporting performances I’ve seen this year. Also, I thought Sara Paxton (who ironically enough co-stared with Pat Healy in “The Innkeepers”) was very good as Koechner’s wife in the film. Even though she didn’t have much dialogue, she’s makes her character have a presences through her approach to her character. She does a very good job making the character very devilish like as the film progress throughout. It made the whole couple dynamic and her character work so well. Overall, this is a well acted film from top to bottom.

The screenplay written by Trent Hagga (Deadgirl, Chop) and David Chirchirillo does a very good job making sure it develops its characters very well. I liked how they spend developing the relationship between Craig and his pal Vince and how it changes during the course of the film. Whether it’s the conflict over the money that the couple was paying them to these outrageous stunts, it makes the relationship change and made the characters interesting and disturbing at the same time. That’s what made it very interesting during all of the twisted things. The other thing that I liked about this was the ability that the writers were able to balance all the dark humor with what takes places in the film. They did a very good job making sure that the humor was dark enough and balanced. It had a David Fincher or Coen Brothers feel to it while also telling a good story. It helped made some of film’s twisted scenes come off very well on screen.

The Blu-ray also boasts a good amount of extras. The extras start off with the audio commentary track with director E.L Katz and Actor Pat Healy. This was a very good and entertaining track. Both Katz and Healy did a very good job sharing stories from the set and how the film was shot. It helped explained how some the horror and comedy elements worked so well in the film. The next featurette is the film’s 39 minute behind the scenes featurette. The featurette does a good job giving you behind the scenes footage of filming along with interview from the cast and crew of the film. This is worth checking out for fans of the film. After that, the disc wraps up with “Cheap Thrills at Fantastic Fest” and trailers.

This is easily one of the best films that I’ve seen so far this year. With its twisted humor and shocking scenes, Cheap Trills is a demented and shocking thrill ride that keeps you from start to finish.

Review Rating: Five Stars

Blu-Ray Extras: Four Stars

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