DVD/Blu-Ray Review: CHEAP THRILLS!

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THE FILM:

While you can easily read our review of the E.L. Katz-directed CHEAP THRILLS here, it’s important to say that it’s a film that gets even better upon multiple viewings. The story of a desperate guy doing desperate things for money, while completely funny at times, is a multi-layered examination of  how far people will go to survive and to provide for loved ones. It’s also a look at people not being who they seem to be on the surface. Pat Healy’s Craig character might seem like a loving family man and the protagonist of the film, but Ethan Embry’s Vince is just as desperate and willing to do anything for a chance at a new life as Craig is. It’s the back and forth between characters kind of approach that really adds heart to what could have easily been just another silly movie dealing with how far people will go. There is a substance to CHEAP THRILLS that is rarely seen in dark comedies these days, and its tone shifting and performances that are well played all across the board put into a class of its own, one that screams “watch me”. It jumps tones and moods, thanks to Healy and Embry’s chemistry, that is sometimes endearing but for the most part, resentful through their characters. David Koechner and Sara Paxton’s rich couple characters, hungry for entertainment and willing to pay large amounts of money to basically see desperate people do some pretty vile things, are played both in your face (Koechner knocks his comedic and at serious performance out of the park) and subtle (Paxton floats through the film, purposely  preoccupied, her character a mystery), making the whole cast completely enthralling. It’s a good look at the hearts of men, and how sometimes what you know of someone just might not be who that person really is.


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SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • Audio Commentary with Director E.L. Katz and Star Pat Healy
  • 45-Minute Making of Documentary: a very informative look at the making of the film, showing how Katz dealt with the troubles and hardships of directing his first feature. Power outs, record-breaking heatwaves, people accidentally deleting important scenes from the film and having to reshoot them, it’s all in here. A really good doc.
  • CHEAP THRILLS at Fantastic Fest 2013: A video of some insane festivities that took place at last year’s Fantastic Fest film festival, including an audience member getting “Cheap Thrills” tattooed on his ass, another one eating an ice cream covered with bugs, and Embry stirring someone’s drink with his balls…yeah, that crazy. Having been there when the events took place, it’s fun to look back and relive that anarchistic and crazy vibe of not only the film, but the people who made it.
  • 16-Page Booklet: A really cool little book, full of fake theater marketing ideas, including the daring of audience members to eat dog food, signs, and various other humorous ideas.

    It’s a great disc and another hit release for the always reliable Drafthouse, a company and brand who put giving their viewers quality films and experiences above everything else. Definitely a disc to pick up.

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