[Blu-Ray Review] E.L. Katz Strikes Pure Dark Comedy Gold With ‘Cheap Thrills’; Now Available On Blu-Ray & DVD From Drafthouse Films


Cheap Thrills [Blu-Ray]

Director: E.L. Katz

Cast: Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, David Koechner

Release Date: Now Available on Blu-Ray & DVD

A Review By: Kevin Lovell

Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10


Plot Summary:

A scheming couple put a struggling family man and his old friend through a series of increasingly twisted dares over the course of an evening at a local bar.


‘Cheap Thrills’ tells the story of Craig, married and with a young baby he does everything he can to provide for his family. That task can be a challenge though, especially on days like today where things just seem to go from bad to worse. Upon leaving for work he sees an eviction notice on his front door which informs him that he must vacate the premises if he’s not able to come up with a large sum of money very soon. Immediately following this terrible news, he is then let go from his job. Now, jobless and soon to be homeless with his wife and child, Craig goes for a drink at a local bar and runs into Vince, an old friend of his who he hasn’t seen in a number of years. By a chance of fate the two old friends are enticed into participating in a series of bets and wagers for excessive amounts of money in order to entertain an eccentric couple on the woman’s birthday. Is this just plain old fun or are things about to go farther than Craig and Vince ever imagined?


E.L. Katz does an absolutely fantastic job directing the film and its stellar cast. While there are really only four or five characters in the film; Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, David Koechner, Sara Paxton and Amanda Fuller make up pretty much the entirety of the cast (though Fuller’s time on screen is much more limited that the other four), each of them is impressive and could not be more perfectly cast in their respective roles.

‘Cheap Thrills’ is a prime example of a perfectly crafted and executed dark comedic masterpiece. I absolutely loved it, therefore I have and will continue to recommend ‘Cheap Thrills’ to everyone I know. It’s perfectly paced, brutal and shocking, while remaining continually hilarious throughout as well. The tone, environments and characters all make for a truly remarkable film experience and one I would definitely recommend checking out. I think most of you will be quite thrilled that you decided to do so.



The Blu-Ray release of ‘Cheap Thrills’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks pretty fantastic on this one. Having previously had the privilege of seeing this great film back in late 2013 via a screener the differences in the color, tone and detail is quite apparent. Everything looks pretty spot on here, down to the borders and edges of the picture and I think fans will be pretty thrilled with this high definition video presentation.


The Blu-Ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. The soundtrack perfectly balances the quiet and tame moments of the film (or those intentionally building tension) along with the yelling or music filled moments that can get surprisingly loud. Everything sounds pretty fantastic here, with the moments where music or sounds start popping up in the surround channels never causing any inaudibility from the dialogue.


The Blu-Ray release of ‘Cheap Thrills’ also contains an impressive amount of bonus content which is no surprise considering Drafthouse tends to usually put out some pretty impressive releases in which the time, effort and care put into them is clearly obvious. Included is a 16-page collectible booklet (a little bonus Drafthouse always includes that I must say I absolutely love) as well as a reversible cover so that you can choose how you would prefer to display it in your collection. Special features included on the physical Blu-Ray disc include an audio commentary track with director E.L. Katz and star Pat Healy, in addition to an in depth 45 minute making of documentary, ‘Cheap Thrills at Fantastic Fest 2013’, Trailers and a digital copy of the film. There are clearly more than enough extra goodies on this one to keep fellow fans of the movie entertained for a good while following their viewing(s) of the film itself.


*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.

Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 9.5/10

‘Cheap Thrills’ is now available to own on Blu-Ray & DVD from Drafthouse Films & Cinedigm.

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