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Cheap Thrills

6.71 h 27 min2014X-Ray18+
A darkly comic thriller, CHEAP THRILLS follows the one-night descent of two friends participating in a series of escalating paid dares to entertain a wealthy couple with a twisted sense of humor.
E.L. Katz
Pat HealyEthan EmbrySara Paxton
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
David Koechner
John SuitsGabriel CowanTravis Stevens
AMC Plus Horror
Content advisory
Alcohol usefoul languagesexual contentsubstance useviolence
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4.3 out of 5 stars

579 global ratings

  1. 64% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 10% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 3% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 6% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

RedReviewed in the United States on May 14, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Counterculture horror film or bad writing creating a monster? You decide.
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This is either brilliantly written or badly written. I don't know because I don't know what the writers were intending. If this is a brilliant horror film with a hidden monster and a strong counter culture message, it deserves a five for having guts to carry it's message so quietly and so well. If this is actually a case of plot holes and bad writing with socially accepted traditions meant to paint in the rest of the character, it's worth a two for being lazy and relying on socially accepted clichés. I'm giving it a 3.5 (rounded to 4) to be safe. Overall it was worth the watch but I don't think I'd rewatch it any time soon.

Why do I say this might be a counter-culture messaged horror film? Spoilers ahead.

We are supposed to feel sympathetic for Craig because he has a wife and kid and is going to be evicted. When you are going to be evicted you have to miss rent for multiple months, be given multiple "you are late, please pay" warnings, and then you are given an eviction notice. He shouldn't have been shocked to see the eviction notice on his door. Also, how does the wife NOT know about the money problems? How poor is his relationship with his super important family that he couldn't have a talk about their spending habits? If things are this bad certainly there are other bills not being paid. That means lots of collection notices. Working as a mechanic is good money. He lives in a small apartment in a cheap neighborhood. How did he end up so far in the rear? Also, mechanics are always desirable. Finding more work should have been easy. Put it all together and you get a neglectful prideful/fearful man who lies to his family constantly, probably as a selfish attempt to save face at his failed writing career. This is NOT the behavior of a responsible, loving father and husband. It's a simmering monster.

And then we have Vince the sex-maniac dropout who has done nothing with his life supposedly. Wait, if that's true, why is he the one with a stable place to sleep, money, and a job? Ok, so he went to jail once, but he has been on the right side of the law since then. It's not like we haven't heard of anyone ever making a mistake then trying to get better. When we first see Vince he offers Craig a few hundred bucks to try to help him. He worked hard at menial jobs that pay way less than a mechanic makes to get that money. People won't give him better jobs because he has a criminal record. Vince even says so. A few hundred bucks is a week's pay for him. He doesn't care, he wants to help. When he finds out this won't help, he is sad. He encourages Craig to do things because he wants to help Craig feel better any way he can, even if that means goading him to have some drinks and to play the couple's game for awhile. Vince can be competitive even to the point of playing dirty, but outside of that he doesn't appear to be a selfish or cruel man. He even apologizes for most of the things he ends up doing to Craig. This is not a monster. It's a man who makes mistakes.

He and Craig supposedly were alike in high school except for the fact that Vince was always standing up for Craig because Craig was too scared to stand up for himself. What happened? Vince didn't get married or have kids. He chose not to follow the status quo of "get a woman, get a job, get a baby, die" that society forces on people. Without those extra responsibilities tossed on him he could think clearly and realised when things went too far. Craig was willing to lose the last shreds of his humanity in order to maintain the socially approved way of living. Vince wasn't. This message is about as counter culture as you can get.

If this message was the writer's intention, kudos for being bold enough to buck the standard "babies and families are always good and all good people have them" cliché. If the lack of research into what would lead to Craig's situation plus the cliché excuse that being a parent somehow makes everything he does OK as it's "for the family" actually turned what was supposed to be a hero into a monster, then this movie sucks. As to which it is, unless the creators straight up say then I wouldn't know. Watch it if it interests you. That's all I can say.
3 people found this helpful
Mrs. OptimisticReviewed in the United States on March 24, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Worth a watch!
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I found this movie on a list of horror movies you must watch. I love Ethan Embry, and then when I seen the other cast, I had to give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. This movie is DARK. It is very reminiscent of "Would you rather". A rich couple spend the night having two guys fight over dares for money. Obviously the stakes get higher and higher throughout the movie. Both have reasons why they need the money and continue doing these ridiculous (and sometimes painful) dares. The ending was a little predictable, but I find the majority of movies are...and completely does not take away from the rest of the movie. Acting is good and the plot is decent. I agree with that list that brought me to this movie that it is worth a watch. Oh, and for the people who are critiquing the movie due to some things being less than believable,it is a horror suspense...there are impracticalities throughout every movie in the genre. I try to look past that and just enjoy the ride.
One person found this helpful
Michael GrubbReviewed in the United States on September 11, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very well constructed cinema
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This movie takes one on a great ride that shows the viewer action and reaction, cause and effect. The acting on behalf of all contributing parties is impeccable and it puts the viewer in some uncomfortable situations that continue to escalate until the grandiose, cathartic ending. I wish more movies were made like this where the story does all of the heavy lifting and the actors bring it to full fruition. Much of today's cinema rely on special effects, CGI, and cheap gimmicks in order to maintain the attention span of its viewership. This one opens up one's imagination by proposing "what if" and then it completely assaults one's senses with direct, visceral imagery that allows the viewer a candid glimpse of the brutality of mankind's inherent greed. This movie proves that one does not require a huge budget in order to deliver a great viewing experience.
MetrodorusReviewed in the United States on July 30, 2021
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great Satire on Late Capitalism
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This is a clever movie based on a fairly simple premise. It could have gotten boring once that premise was clear—and it becomes fairly clear pretty soon. But the movie kept me going till the end. The script was crisp and the acting carried me along.

The movie follows two supposed friends who are lured into a series of increasingly reprehensible and degrading activities for the sake of money. It's clearly meant to be a reflection on all our lives in the current wealth-polarized world where hyper-rich people, without ever paying a price and in search only of their own pleasure, pit workers (like me and, probably, you) against each other for a petty slice of the pie

The characters are cartoonish in the best sense. They are walking stereotypes meant to invite our mockery. It's classic comic characterization. I particularly like David Koechner with his pitch-perfect pork pie hat. He's the perfect villain! But all the acting was great.

This is a great movie!
Binky ChottorrhœhiaReviewed in the United States on March 23, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Winning Ensemble Makes This One Sing
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There are lots of films out there that ask, "What would YOU do for $250,000?" or whatever x amount of money seems most provocative. These films tend to be sanctimonious and contrived and bereft of humanity, far too preoccupied with being thought provoking. The characters involved are usually not characters at all, but either generic everyman types or humbug stereotypes drawn up in the name of making some sort of social commentary.

The difference here is that Cheap Thrills doesn't really care what you would do because it's blessed with two real characters, rounded and believable, and the relationship between them feels very real. If you're looking to have your thoughts provoked there's plenty of opportunity here, but it's also just entertaining and enlightening in its own right.

Every member of this ensemble cast of five adult players does an excellent job here. If there is one standout it's David Kouchner, whom you've probably seen in the background of countless movies. His understated performance here could have carried the filmIf you like this movie singlehandedly, but that's not necessary because the rest of the cast is so good. If you know Sara Paxton as the innocent tomboy from The Innkeepers, she's going to surprise you here. As the two friends who gradually become rivals, Pat Healy and Ethan Embry both turn in superb performances, Healy all steely intensity and Embry with a cuddly buddy buddy sweetness that belies the fact that his character is pretty screwed up deep down.

If you enjoy this, and I hope you do, I would suggest also checking out the movie Favor by director Paul Osborne. An excellent social commentary that's wins by not trying too hard to prove its point.
One person found this helpful
CFrankReviewed in the United States on February 20, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
Equally depraved and enthralling...
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Equally depraved and enthralling.

I watched this on a whim in Amazon Instant Video. Anything with David Koechner is usually a pretty good movie.

The acting is superb, at least in my opinion. I was surprised by Koechner's adaptation to a role like this. Though not entirely humorous, not the usual comedy bits he's known for (Out Cold). His wife is muted, distant, but involved; drives things forward. (Except for one sulking bit.) The two guys competing for cash are great polar opposites -- one reserved becomes depraved, and one depraved has certain reservations.

Allegorical in the sense of the lengths people will go to depravity in the face of it; and indifference of people who have it all, seeking cheap thrills at the expense of others when money buys everything else (buy more).
craig buchananReviewed in the United States on October 3, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
would u do it 4 $ meets fight club from hell & Back
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a must see action thriller if your in the mood for one hell of a night then do what i say and get paid for a wild ride of drinking, sex, drugs, fighting an did I mention dog chow hold this beer will I take a dump in the neighbor house and piss on your leg.
BeemasterReviewed in the United States on November 17, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Somewhat Tarantino like - could be a stage play.
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If you liked the feel of movies that could be pulled off as a play (AKA Reservoir Dogs) you'll like this three scene movie - sure, there are a few fast shots of the main character's apartment and where he works, but basically you have a bar, a strip joint scene (not needed) and the home where this strange extravagantly rich couple wager how what desperate people will do for money. I'm not giving anything the trailer doesn't - it's worth the time and at 1 hour into it, there is a powerful 7 or 8 minute scene that you will remember. I don't grimace at much, but this had me wincing. Worth watching on Prime for sure. And if I had rented it, I wouldn't have been disappointed.
One person found this helpful
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