Metascore
64

Generally favorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Reviewed by: Eric Kohn
    Mar 27, 2014
    83
    Savagely assaulting the desperate state of a blue collar family man, the comedic thriller Cheap Thrills establishes a ridiculous premise early on and takes it to various extremes, again and again, until you just have to accept the crazy venture on its own terms or simply give up.
  2. Reviewed by: Nigel Floyd
    Jun 3, 2014
    80
    The casting of comedian Koechner as the sleazy host is a masterstroke, but all four actors relish the salty dialogue and farcical cruelty, as the film moves towards a bleak but satisfying ending.
  3. Reviewed by: Owen Williams
    Jun 2, 2014
    80
    A grimly funny social allegory that doesn't pull a single punch.
  4. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Mar 27, 2014
    80
    This is dark comedy indeed, and if viewed as such, it works deliciously.
  5. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Mar 27, 2014
    80
    Katz has a clear investment in Healy's character and convincingly depicts his choices as inevitable even when they become anything but.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Mar 27, 2014
    80
    The performances are perfectly attuned to the material, with Koechner dominating his every scene as a kind of demented ringmaster, and Healy adroitly demonstrating the potential for both humor and horror in a character with nothing left to lose.
  7. Reviewed by: Brian Tallerico
    Mar 21, 2014
    75
    This is a solid thrill ride all around, especially for those who like their Faustian parables with a bit of the bloody red stuff.
  8. Reviewed by: Drew Taylor
    Mar 19, 2014
    75
    Unlike most movies that use the current economic crisis as a dramatic backdrop, Healy's character is vibrant enough that the audience can make an easy connection and go through the journey with him.
  9. Reviewed by: Bill Goodykoontz
    Mar 27, 2014
    70
    It's not an easy ride, but it is ultimately a satisfying one.
  10. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    Mar 20, 2014
    70
    Healy and Embry commit to their enervating roles with a heady mix of desperation and gusto, while Koechner is cleverly modulated as the evening's madman emcee. But Paxton, as the complicit yet impassive Violet, remains mostly a shiny accessory.
  11. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Feb 24, 2014
    70
    The film advances some harsh truths about the spoils of money-grubbing savagery. But Cheap Thrills doesn’t take a scolding tone: These lessons come in the form of a rowdy, midnight-movie entertainment that keeps its considerable ambition under wraps.
  12. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Mar 27, 2014
    67
    Even if Cheap Thrills isn’t always plausible, though, it’s still a fair amount of twisted fun, thanks mostly to a surprisingly, effectively low-key turn by Koechner as the game’s emcee.
  13. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    Mar 19, 2014
    67
    Erich von Stroheim might have made the definitive film about human swinishness way back in 1924 – sorry, Gordon Gekko – but Cheap Thrills cuts deeper, darker, and straight to the bone.
  14. 63
    A nasty, elemental thriller, basically a four-character play with blood and guts and sex and drugs and dares
  15. Reviewed by: Patrick Gamble
    Jun 5, 2014
    60
    Cheap Thrills is a commendably flawed experiment in imbuing social anxiety with genre shocks.
  16. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Jun 5, 2014
    60
    It’s well-acted, especially by Healy (The Innkeepers), who makes you feel the pain of every wound, the ratcheting torture of every dilemma. But the film’s also a gimmicky exercise whose hollowness and credibility are constant problems.
  17. Reviewed by: Alan Scherstuhl
    Mar 18, 2014
    60
    Katz stages the contests with infectious energy... Too bad the last half hour feels like Katz is rubbing our face in the several turds he shows us, reminding us that people are awful. Of course they are. What else do you have to tell us?
  18. Reviewed by: Bilge Ebiri
    Mar 28, 2014
    50
    If Cheap Thrills ultimately does carry us along, it’s due largely to Healy’s performance and presence. He’s a figure halfway between schlemiel and criminal, and the film effectively works that full range.
  19. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Mar 26, 2014
    50
    This is not a movie for everybody, but that assessment is not exactly intended as a thumbs down. Alarming thrills are guaranteed.
  20. Reviewed by: Steve Macfarlane
    Mar 18, 2014
    50
    The film's clearest winner is Pat Healy, whose depiction of a man willing to corrode his entire life to provide for his wife and kid feels true despite the script's silliest moments.
  21. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Mar 27, 2014
    40
    In Cheap Thrills, a committed cast elevates what is, ultimately, a gimmicky thriller. It dissolves into a puddle of blood-tinged hypocrisy.
  22. Reviewed by: Keith Uhlich
    Mar 26, 2014
    40
    Cheap Thrills is little more than low-budget torture porn for the doobie-addled dudebro contingent.
User Score
7.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 20 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Mar 24, 2014
    8
    I watched Cheap Thrills months ago at a local film festival and I have to admit that I loved it's dark sense of humor. It's a simple movie,I watched Cheap Thrills months ago at a local film festival and I have to admit that I loved it's dark sense of humor. It's a simple movie, with a simple concept, and a very dark & desperate outlook on life. The idea behind the film is pretty basic but fortunately there are a few good plot twists to break up the increasingly violent and dangerous cash offers the two main characters are tempted with. Cheap Thrills won't be for the faint of heart, but if you're looking for something dark, and surprisingly well-done then I would recommend giving it a shot. Full Review »
  2. Feb 1, 2015
    7
    A gross-out movie based around a simple premise of what someone would do to earn money to save their family and their life (when you haveA gross-out movie based around a simple premise of what someone would do to earn money to save their family and their life (when you have little to none of course). The dares escalate as more and more money becomes involved, and it's all pretty intriguing stuff. But it's hard to shake the feeling that it could have done more with the premise and some of it is just outlandish for its own sake instead of being button pushing in a truly authentic way. The ending is also a bit of a let down. It makes sense, feels inevitable, and as a result, also a bit contrived. Full Review »
  3. Jan 18, 2015
    5
    From reading other revues, I expected some comedy in this film. I found none. It was darkly engaging and there were a couple of moments that,From reading other revues, I expected some comedy in this film. I found none. It was darkly engaging and there were a couple of moments that, perhaps in some other film, may have been humorous but in this film were more horrific. The musical score and direction didn't allow me to laugh at things I may otherwise have.

    I wouldn't call it original (I don't think it is trying to be) but I may suggest that it was mostly predictable. That isn't necessarily a complaint, though. It's predictability is what made it sad. You knew these people were going to continue to make bad choices because of the holes that they found themselves in.

    The real reason I didn't thoroughly enjoy this film is probably because of the expectations I had after reading reviews (and let's face it, the film's poster gives a more upbeat feel than the film itself). If you go into this expecting a bit of a laugh, I hope you will be disappointed as well. If you watch the film expecting a confronting drama, you may enjoy it more.
    Full Review »