Cheap Thrills (2014)

SYNOPSIS OF “CHEAP THRILLS” VIA ROTTEN TOMATOES:

Cheap Thrills follows Craig, a struggling family man who loses his low-wage job and is threatened with eviction.  In an effort to delay facing the music at home, he heads to a local bar and encounters an old friend.  The two friends are roped into a round of drinks by a charismatic and obscenely wealthy stranger along with his mysterious wife.  The couple engages the two friends in a series of innocent dares in exchange for money over the course of the evening, with each challenge upping the ante in both reward and boundaries. It seems like easy and much needed money, but the couple’s twisted sense of humor pushes just how far Craig and his friend are willing to go for money and cheap thrills.”  

MY REVIEW

I had this movie on my list of top horror movies to watch of 2014.  The other day I was cruising on Amazon Prime Instant and saw this movie was available to watch for free, so I thought I would give it a shot.  When I read the synopsis I wasn’t really sure what I was in for since it didn’t seem to be horror-like.  It’s more of a thriller/torture-esque/comedy - which is definitely not what I was expecting - but it was definitely worth the watch!

The movie starts with us meeting Craig - him and his wife have just had a baby and as luck would have it, he gets laid off from work.  With no money to pay for rent (we find out that he is about to be evicted) he goes to the bar and meets up with an old friend of his, Vince (played by Ethan Embry - LOVE HIM!). While at the bar, Craig and Vince encounter Colin (David Koechner) and his wife Violet (Sara Paxton).  After many many drinks (and of course cocaine), Colin starts to bet Craig and Vince to do stupid things in exchange for money - it starts off innocently, $30-$50 here and then up to $200 to get a woman to slap you in the face to the climax of the bar scene - $500 to punch the doorman in the face - which Craig does which the doorman promptly knocks him out.

Craig wakes up after being knocked out and we find that him and Vince are at Colin and Violet’s house.  Craig wants to go home but Vince takes him aside and tells him that Colin has about $250k in an open safe and that he wants to rob him.  Reluctantly, Craig agrees to the plan only because he desperately needs the money.  Upon trying to steal the money, the plan goes awry and the tables are turned.  Colin and Violet agree to let bygones be bygones but would like for Vince and Craig to play a game in which they will receive all $250k. The game requires them to do whatever it is Colin and Violet ask of them; however, at any point they are allowed to walk away with the money they have won. And now, shit gets real (literally and figuratively).  

I don’t want to go to much more into the movie because I think that people should see it.  It wasn’t until I was writing this review that I realized that the characters, Craig and Vince, literally could leave on their own free will whenever they wanted (actually at one point Craig does leave - only to come back for more money) with no consequences.  I found that to be interesting because typically in horror/thriller movies the “bad guys/monsters/etc” let their “victims” know that they can leave at any time but in reality they can’t.  If they leave they most likely will die.  So I really liked this concept of having our own free will to choose or to leave - and I liked that the characters (knowing this) decided to stay. 

I won’t say that this is a scary movie - it definitely was suspenseful and did not hold back on being grotesque (you will never look at dogs or pinkie fingers the same way again).  I’m glad that the humor of the movie broke up the grotesque-ness of the movie and made me relax a little bit more.  I definitely think this is a movie worth seeing if you like funny/gory/suspense.  Here are my final thoughts:

Concept/Story: 2/2
Style/Effect: 2/2
Atmosphere: 1/2
Scares: 0/2
Rewatchability: 1/2

TOTAL:  7/10

Also, bonus point for Ethan Embry!