Drafthouse Films, the film distribution arm of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, in partnership with Snoot Entertainment, acquired US distribution rights to the twisted dark comedy thriller Cheap Thrills following its world premiere at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. The directorial debut from E.L. Katz stars Pat Healy (Compliance) as a recently fired father facing eviction who agrees to take on an escalating series of insane challenges in exchange for cash payments from a rich couple with a twisted sense of humor. The film also stars David Koechner (Anchorman: The Legend Continues), Sara Paxton (The Innkeepers), Ethan Embry (Empire Records) and was penned by Trent Haaga (Deadgirl) and David Chirchirillo. A VOD and theatrical release in a minimum of 20 markets is planned.
The film debuted as part of SXSW's Midnight section where it received praise from critics and thrilled audiences with its unique blend of social morality play, visceral brutality and razor sharp wit. "Class warfare comes perversely home in Cheap Thrills," says Peter Martin of Twitch Film adding that it is "a fiendish, fierce, and funny morality tale about the true value of money." James Rocchi at MSN Movies wrote that the film is "cynical, amoral, tense and superbly shot and performed."
Here's what Drafthouse Films CEO Tim League had to say in a statement.
"We are always in search of smart genre fare with defined characters and powerful performances. And we found it in Katz's uniquely disturbing, funny, and remarkably thrilling film. We are proud to welcome Cheap Thrills to our roster and we are anxious to unleash it upon unsuspecting audiences."
Snoot Entertainment president Keith Calder had this to say in his own statement.
"Cheap Thrills is the darkest of comedies and the smartest of thrillers, and we're beyond excited to have a chance to work on this amazing film with Drafthouse Films."
Producer Travis Stevens commented on his movie finding a home at Drafthouse Films.
"Drafthouse Films is a company that built its name on releasing high quality, f'd up genre films. These are exactly the types of films we make. Eager to unleash the lunacy of E.L. Katz's directorial debut on to the world with them."
Gabriel Cowan of New Artists Alliance added the following.
"This all star team is sure to find every messed up degenerate that will enjoy this disturbing, hilarious directorial debut."
The deal was negotiated by Tim League and James Emanuel Shapiro on behalf of Drafthouse Films and Josh Braun and David Koh of Submarine on behalf of the film's producers.