OPENING MARCH 21st IN SELECT THEATERS
Cheap Thrills takes the audience down a rabbit hole of deviance, one held together by the fascinating performances of (normally comic) David Koechner and Sara Paxton as the couple with too much cash. Koechner, the loud mouth character actor from Anchorman and The Office, takes that same shtick and turns it for a darker purpose, really carrying off a fun-loving menace with ease and a smile. Paxton dominates the film from the sidelines, her cold restraint willing the men to go further to elicit any sort of reaction out of her.
The two ‘contestants’ in the game, played by Pat Healy and Ethan Embry, are fine, but as this is a movie about making people do things out of character, they never really interest the audience as much as the game itself. This is a shame actually because the film is full of shocking and exhilarating moments, but the effectiveness is minimized because I never really cared about Craig (or Vince for that matter). They were sort of generic audience stand-ins. Maybe that’s the point of the film – that you ask yourself, would I cut off my own finger for $25,000? Unfortunately, this kept the material at a distance for me, it was a fun ride, but it doesn’t really stay with you. Still, the filmmaking is very inventive, for a twist on the contained-in-one-house horror film – this horror is all of the participants’ own making. Cheap Thrills opens today (Friday, March 21) nationwide and in Austin at the Alamo Lakeline and Slaughter Lane.