Life can suck at times and this mudball of a planet called Earth can really offer some unfair moments during ones life. For instance, imagine you’re struggling financially, you get an eviction notice because you haven’t paid your rent, your job just relieves you of your duties, and you have a wife and one year old baby boy to boot!? Yeah, that is a shitty position, and one anybody can be in truth be told. But what would you do if you found yourself in this situation? Is there anything that you wouldn’t do?
E.L. Katz explores this scenario in his movie Cheap Thrills, a lean and mean tale of economic desperation. It is something different and a horse of another color if you will. A dark, funny, and brutal film that explores the extremes a struggling family man with pretty much the weight of his world on his shoulder, will go through to provide for his family.
The main protaganist, Craig (played wonderfully by Pat Healy) is in this hellish predicament. Like most desperate folks he ends up in a dive bar working up the courage to go home and tell the wifey that he’s a loser and they’re pretty much, umm, for a lack of a better word, screwed. When an old friend, Vince (played by Ethan Embry) shows up and buys him another drink. They are then joined by David Koechner’s character, Colin, and his wife Violet, played by Sara Paxton. Then the fun, or in this case, the cheap thrills, begin.
Essentially, they begin to play a game for money that has them doing stupid or jackass crap for cash. It begins innocently enough with who can down their shot first for $50 and escalates to, well, I will spare you the details of the desperate acts they go through for money, but it gets sick; a bit squeamish too! However, this begs the question, how far would you go for moolah? One thing I can say is that there is a great final shot that will burn into your brain.
Thankfully, the lack of money didn’t affect this movie in a negative way at all. This is how you make a perfect low budget film that doesn’t need another cent!!