Fin­ger-rip­pin’ good

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - REVIEWS -

CHEAP THRILLS

Di­rected by EL Katz. Star­ring Pat Healy, Sara Pax­ton, Ethan Em­bry, David Koech­ner 16 cert, Triskel, Cork; Light House, Dublin, 88 min It may be an ac­ci­dent, but this neat, hor­ri­ble, very en­joy­able mid-budget thriller looks to have an an­tecedent in Roald Dahl’s 1948 story Man from the South. That was the one about the sin­is­ter in­di­vid­ual who bets a younger man that he can’t suc­cess­fully spark up his lighter 10 times in a row. If the hero suc­ceeds he gets the gam­bler’s car. If he loses, a lit­tle fin­ger will be sev­ered.

The story was filmed for Tales of the Un­ex­pected and, truth be told, the sce­nario is bet­ter suited to the shorter form. Cheap Thrills never quite flags, but there is, in the later stages, a slightly des­per­ate at­tempt to up the stakes ever fur­ther.

It be­gins with a car me­chanic and some­time writer (Pat Healy) los­ing his job on the same day he re­ceives an evic­tion no­tice. Drown­ing his sor­rows at the lo­cal bar, he en­coun­ters an old pal (Ethan Em­bry) who has drifted into loan shark­ing.

A flash, in­de­cently loaded ne’er-do-well (David Koech­ner), cel­e­brat­ing his girl­friend’s birth­day, soon draws them into his or­bit and they find them­selves in­dulging in silly, lu­cra­tive dares. The first to drink a shot gets $50. The first to get slapped by a nearby woman picks up $100. Later, at the hood’s house in the hills above LA, they take part in much more dan­ger­ous games.

There are a few bum notes in the

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