This isn't to say that this class-conscious comic-gorno misses the mark, far from it. After all there can only be class warfare when the other side fights back and it's clear from the start that Cheap Thrills is a damming critique of the economic inequality in America. An exploitative gladiatorial death match for an audience weaned on viral bumfights and shows like, Jackass Katz plays fast and loose with the comedy and gore, competently satirises contemporary culture's shift towards exploitative entertainment and striking a solid balance between black comedy and absurdist set pieces. However, as the film builds to a shocking crescendo, the underlying message begins to fade behind the visceral violence and nefarious bravado. The way Katz turns his feuding protagonists against one another feels almost too reactionary, playing to the sensationalism it's attempting to critique.
Walking this fine line, the film eventually sways a little too close to the behaviour it's reproaching, all too happy to wallow in the moral wasteland of humanity without sufficiently illuminating the flaws of the system. During the film's pivotal scene, where Katz elaborately depicts how individualism has led to a dog-eat-dog (or 'man-eat-dog') world it's hard to refute that the director is far too caught up in its celebration of carnage. Unable to efficiently illustrate how anger at social inequality is too often redirected at the marginalised, rather than the real villains at the top Cheap Thrills is a commendably flawed experiment in imbuing social anxiety with genre shocks.