Into the Storm

David Koechner’s recent performance as a wealthy sadist in the low-budget drama Cheap Thrills ranks among the more interesting screen performances this year. A veteran character actor best known for playing cartoon idiots (Anchorman: The Legend of Rob Burgundy, NBC’s The Office), Koechner is surprisingly convincing as the film’s mephistophelean villain, who coerces the hapless protagonists into performing a series of degrading stunts. Koechner’s comedy background is evident in his boisterous line readings, which sound vaguely funny even when his character says awful things. Rather than diminish the movie’s sinister tone, however, he enhances it, inspiring uneasy sympathy for a reprehensible character by making him the most charming presence onscreen. Continue reading >>