Thanksgiving Review

Monday 20 November 2023

Plot: After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorises Plymouth, Massachusetts - the birthplace of the infamous holiday.

Film: Thanksgiving

Director: Eli Roth

Writers: Jeff Rendell, Eli Roth

Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Nell Verlaque, Jalen Thomas Brooks

"Thanksgiving," the 2023 slasher film directed by Eli Roth, revolves around a premise that toys with the perception of historical figures. John Carver, the first governor of Plymouth Colony, becomes the macabre inspiration for a horror movie murderer. Unfortunately, this initial spark of creativity isn't enough to carry a 106-minute movie, and the film compensates with an outlandish plot, a blend of high school stereotypes, and shockingly graphic portrayals of violent deaths. 

Rather than leaning on fear, "Thanksgiving" delves deeply into gruesome depictions, making it more gory than genuinely terrifying. It appeals to audiences craving the graphic intensity often missing in the "Scream" franchise, though Thanksgiving’s victims lack the depth ‘Scream’ often provides, rendering their deaths disturbing but emotionally detached. 

Surprisingly, at times, the killer is more relatable than the protagonists. The teens, embodying clich├ęd stereotypes, struggle to find their place in a narrative torn between outdated tropes and modern influences, while the killer seeks revenge for the horrors of the previous Black Friday riot. I know whose side I’m initially on. 

Lead character Jessica, portrayed by Nell Verlaque, has troubled relationships with her father and step-mother, this build up adds a little substance to the plot. This movie also misleads by falsely promoting TikTok celebrity Addison Rae as a star, not that this is something that drew me to the film in the first place, but I can see that her minimal role and screen time may be a disappointment to some.

Despite its shortcomings in plot, character development, and performances, "Thanksgiving" compensates with excessively graphic violence, catering to desensitized audiences. While the gore might delight enthusiasts, I spent a good portion of the film laughing and enjoying the silliness of the kills; if you are seeking intense visuals akin to "Grindhouse," the fun doesn't compensate for the absence of genuine thrills.

Thanksgiving may try too hard, but its shock factor remains notable. For those seeking violent spectacles to watch after Halloween is over and before we break out Krampus for the holiday season, this film delivers.

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