Cheap Thrills (film)

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Cheap Thrills
Cheap Thrills poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by E.L. Katz
Produced by Gabriel Cowan
Travis Stevens
John Suits
Written by Trent Haaga
David Chirchirillo
Starring Pat Healy
Sara Paxton
Ethan Embry
David Koechner
Music by Mads Heldtberg
Cinematography Andrew Wheeler
Sebastian Winterø
Edited by Brody Gusar
New Artists Alliance
Snowfort Pictures
Distributed by Drafthouse Films
Release dates
  • March 8, 2013 (2013-03-08) (SXSW)
  • March 24, 2014 (2014-03-24) (United States)
Running time 85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $100,000 [1]
Box office $58,821[2]

Cheap Thrills is a 2013 black comedy thriller directed by E.L. Katz in his directorial debut. It premiered at South by Southwest (SXSW) on March 8, 2013, and was acquired by Drafthouse Films and Snoot Entertainment. It was released on March 24, 2014, in the United States.


Craig (Pat Healy), is an auto mechanic who loses his job. He is unable to pay his rent and after seeing the eviction sign, he goes to a bar, where he meets someone from his old high school, Vince (Ethan Embry). A rich couple, Colin and Violet (David Koechner and Sara Paxton), give them money for completing certain tasks. The tasks are simple at first, but they later become violent.



It is E.L. Katz's first film, for which he was also the writer. After premiering at SXSW, a day-long auction took place for rights to the film in a rare bidding war. Drafthouse Films, partnered with Snoot Entertainment, won the auction. Drafthouse Films plan on releasing the film theatrically on limited screens.[3] It later screened at the Fantasia International Film Festival.[4] Drafthouse Films released Cheap Thrills on DVD/Blu-Ray May 27th, 2014 which included a comprehensive, 45-minute documentary called "Vital Heat: The Making of Cheap Thrills".


Joe Leydon, writing for Variety, said that film "is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, which doubtless will be the strongest selling point for this worst-case scenario about steadily escalating dares and degradations".[5] John Defore, of The Hollywood Reporter, said that the film is "one of the most involving works of cinematic misanthropy in years". Defore compared the film to Indecent Proposal and The Most Dangerous Game.[4] Scott Weinberg, of the online horror website Fearnet, said, "Cheap Thrills breezes by on a twisted idea, a fantastic cast, and a bunch of ethical quandaries that are both eerily uncomfortable and slyly fascinating at the same time."[6]

Simon Foster of SBS Films said, "A textbook case of a film that never quite amounts to the sum of its parts, Cheap Thrills is still more than its title suggests and provides dark entertainment for those in the mood."[7]


  1. ^ Gilchrist, Todd. "Cheap Thrills Director E.L. Katz On Small Budgets, Big Ideas And The Horror Of Financial Success". Forbes. Retrieved June 13, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Cheap Thrills". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved May 4, 2014. 
  3. ^ Yamato, Jen (March 11, 2013). "UPDATE: Drafthouse Films Picks Up ‘Cheap Thrills’ In First Deal Of SXSW 2013". Deadline. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b DeFore, John (August 6, 2013). "Cheap Thrills – H2013 Cheap Thrills: Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ Leydon, Joe (March 22, 2013). "Film Review: ‘Cheap Thrills’". Variety. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ Weinberg, Scott (March 9, 2013). "FEARnet Movie Review: 'Cheap Thrills'". Fearnet. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ Foster, Simon. "Cheap Thrills". SBS Films. Retrieved August 28, 2013. 

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