For family man Craig (Pat Healy) things are getting difficult as money is short, eviction is likely and to top things off he has just lost his job. Heading to a bar on the way home as he can't face telling the wife his news he ends up meeting old drinking buddy Vince (Ethan Embry). The old buddies also end up meeting Colin (David Koechner) and his hot young wife Violet (Sara Paxton) who are up for a laugh and engage Craig and Vince in a series of dares for money each one more outrageous than the last as they toss money around with out a care in the world. But as the evening goes on Colin and Violet's dares go from stupid to twisted and playing off the friends against each other.
"Cheap Thrills" is a curious movie to review because I am not entirely sure what to make of it and how I feel about it. It is simple enough as we have the twisted Colin and Violet who for their own amusement play off two friends against each other in a series of increasingly twisted dares. But it is not as simple as that as we have Colin and Violet's motive for this evening of dares and all I will say there is a touch of Randolph & Mortimer about them, I will let you work out that reference for yourself.
But what the movie is all about is the dark comedy of not only how far Craig and Vince will go for money but also some of the depraved things they find themselves doing. The thing is that there is a combination of sick, daft and amusing going on when it comes to what these two do with the most minor of them seem to be taking a dump on a neighbour's floor, I won't tell you the worst. But it is all kind of strange in places, and what it does is to cause friends to become enemies and enter a realm of actually hurting each other for money.
Part of what makes "Cheap Thrills" strange is the movie's tone which isn't full on comedy, isn't full on horror, often has a weird colour tone and an inconsistent soundtrack. At times this feels like the inexperienced, experimental work of a film school student, but the cast are a high calibre than one of those film school movies and when it works "Cheap Thrills" really works to shock and amuse in a truly perverse way.
What this all boils down to is that "Cheap Thrills" is not a hard movie to explain but it is a hard movie to describe due to its strange tone and perverse nature with a mix of dark humour and horror. But whilst difficult to describe it certainly entertains in a weird way.