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"THANKSGIVING": A Movie Review


Blurb:   A mysterious masked maniac terrorizes residents of Plymouth, Mass., one year after a Black Friday riot ended in tragedy. Picking off victims one by one, the seemingly random revenge killings soon become part of a larger, sinister plan.


Patrick Dempsey

Addison Rae

Milo Manheim

Jalen Thomas Brooks

Nell Verlaque

Rick Hoffman

Gina Gershon

Directed by:  

Eli Roth

Written by: 

Jeff Rendell


The three things you need to know about this little ditty of a horror movie is....

1) It's almost (not quite) a horror comedy. It's hard not to laugh at the (almost spoof) of the movie's version of a Black Friday sale that becomes the motivation in this clever slasher movie.

2) 8 minutes and 7 seconds into this movie and I already wanted almost every single character to die. Horribly.

3) And to quote my friend Cricket, "Thanksgiving, by Eli Roth, is a decent slasher with some creative kills. It's based on the fake trailer he did for Tarantino's Grindhouse double feature.

It's formula slasher all the way featuring the obnoxious teenager gang which includes a good-looking dude, the token black person (this time, male), the immature boyfriend, and the mostly nice girl (probably a virgin) that's the only one you may hope survives. I admit having a little PTSD with the self-assured, bragging, full-of-themselves bullies. Probably why movie-watcher-Ben wanted them to die!

What saves the day is the quality of the filming, if not the acting. It was actually difficult not to laugh during the big sale at the beginning of the movie, with its angry crazy desperate greedy shoppers, absurd as it was, because in real life worse has probably happened.

Needless to say, this is a movie where a bunch of characters get picked off one by one, and as my friend Cricket said, some of those deaths are ingenious and new, and some are just weird. I want to say but I also don't want to spoil anything.

[you know those little yellow plastic handles that look like corn on the cob that you used to hold corn on the cob? Whoops! Sorry!]

But you know, it was the adults that were really loathsome, many of whom I hoped would be on the hatching block of miller (of course, dressed as a pilgrim). I was also confused why, after the death of the first (repugnant) shopper, I couldn't figure out how they connected the death with the store rampage from one year earlier.

Thanksgiving is not very innovative really, it's no Halloween, it's not the original Scream. It's not in any danger of winning any Oscars and I don't think it's destined to be a horror classic that you just have to watch every November. But for what it is, it's entertaining enough. Especially if you can see it for free. I'm giving it five out of ten coffees. Give it a fun go!



Warning: The following is a complete synopsis of the movie. It's nothing but spoilers. Read at your own risk!

During Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, an unruly mob gathers outside the local RightMart superstore in preparation for a Black Friday sale. Jessica Wright, whose father, Thomas, owns the store, lets her, along with her boyfriend Bobby, and friends Evan, Gaby, Scuba, and Yulia, inside early through a side door. The riled-up crowd notices them and stampedes into the store in a frenzy, resulting in multiple people dying gruesomely, including Amanda Collins, wife of store manager Mitch. Bobby gets his arm broken in the riot and moves away, ghosting the group.

One year later, despite frequent protests from Mitch and other residents, RightMart begins preparations for another Black Friday sale. Bobby returns to Plymouth, much to the chagrin of Jessica's current boyfriend, Ryan. A waitress named Lizzie is killed by a figure wearing a John Carver mask. Lizzie's involvement in the Black Friday incident leads police to believe those involved are being actively targeted.

Jessica and her friends continue to get tagged in mysterious Instagram posts. Jessica lends the store's security footage to the town's sheriff, Eric Newlon. Carver kills several residents including students Lonnie and Amy, and security guard Manny, all of whom were involved during the RightMart riot. Evan and Gaby are soon abducted; Jessica narrowly escapes. Yulia is attacked next in her home. Jessica and Scuba make it there but are unable to stop Carver from disemboweling her with a table saw.

The police attempt to lure Carver out by having the Wright family participate in a Thanksgiving parade, disguised as Pilgrims. Carver publicly decapitates a mascot and sets off smoke bombs, giving him the opportunity to abduct the Wrights and Scuba in the chaos. Jessica's stepmother Kathleen is prepared and cooked alive at Carver's hideout. Her corpse is served as a "turkey" at a dinner table where the hostages and victims' corpses are seated. The killer bludgeons Evan to death in a livestream in front of the others; Jessica and Scuba escape and she is able to flee out of the woods to the parade warehouse, where she finds Sherriff Newlon unconscious. She sees Bobby in the Carver costume but he escapes.

The police inform her that her surviving friends and father are safe. In an office alone, Jessica notices the same debris from the woods stuck to her clothing is also on Newlon, which suggests that he's the killer. Newlon reveals his motive for the murders: he had been having an affair with Amanda, who was pregnant with his child. Before her death, she was planning to divorce Mitch and stay with Newlon. Seeking revenge, Newlon began targeting all those responsible during the RightMart riot, as their negligence and ignorance caused Amanda's death. Prior, Newlon had abducted Bobby and put him in the Carver costume, intending to frame him for the massacre. A horrified Newlon realizes Jessica has live-streamed his entire confession, exposing him as the killer. He attacks her but Bobby intervenes.

As Jessica and Bobby attempt to escape in a tow truck, an enraged Newlon attacks again intent on killing Jessica for ruining his plans and his life. Jessica loads a musket using her mother's bracelet then shoots down a turkey parade balloon attached to a tank of gas, causing an explosion that engulfs Newlon. In the end, she reunites with Ryan, Gaby, and Scuba while Bobby is taken to the hospital. Authorities are unable to find Newlon's body, leading them to believe he was incinerated in the explosion. Jessica, however, has a nightmare in which she is attacked by a flaming Newlon. *

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