Directed by esteemed director, Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever and The Green Inferno), Thanksgiving is a welcomed addition to this year’s holiday horror line up that brings blood guts and gore to the table in the most stylish of ways.
Thanksgiving – Storyline
At a Thanksgiving Black Friday sale at fictional superstore, Rightmart, things quickly get out of hand. With the dial turned up to fever pitch, consumers race to get their free waffle iron and will stop at nothing to get their greedy claws on their cherished breakfast appliance prizes. As with most of these sales, there is a lot of fighting and injuries, but more notably, a few people tragically lose their lives in the abject carnage.
The following year, many don’t feel like celebrating the festivities (which is understandable) as the holiday date marks the one year anniversary of the tragic events of the Rightmart riot. With news the store will be opening for the fateful day, the locals of Plymouth don’t take kindly to the greed and lack of empathy displayed by store owner, Thomas Wright (played by Hostel and Suits actor, Rick Hoffman).
However, among the many angry locals, none are as angry as the movie’s protagonist, a bloodthirsty killer intent on bloodshed and revenge. Dressed as an axe wielding pilgrim and wearing a mask depicting an old town mayor, “John Carver”, the enraged miscreant is determined to right the wrongs of the previous year by creatively killing anyone that’s deemed to hold any responsibility to the Black Friday mayhem.
What follows is a tongue-in-cheek bloodbath, perfect for the festive season.
Thanksgiving was Originally a Parody Trailer, Directed by Roth
Having dreamt of making a Thanksgiving themed slasher since he was twelve-years-old, treasured filmmaker, Eli Roth finally satiated his desires when he made a trailer for a fictitious movie called Thanksgiving, which was to be featured in the 2007 cult collection, Grindhouse by Robert Rodriquez and Quentin Tarantino.
However, Roth’s many adoring followers were left wanting more and have since been crying out for a feature length revisiting of his blood-drenched trailer. It’s taken sixteen years but Roth finally contacted his old friend, Jeff Rendell and together they finally began work on an answer to the wishes of Roth’s fans.
Sadly, it seems as though a few changes had to be made for the film to be considered friendly enough for the big screen: a near-naked cheerleader being slaughtered from underneath a trampoline, a “Lover’s Hill” scene and a woman being trussed up and served for Thanksgiving dinner with an imaginatively placed thermometer protruding from her person were replaced with less-graphic (both sexually and violently) versions, with both the cheerleader and the human turkey being somewhat dressed.
Thanksgiving: A Wild and Bloody Slasher Laced with Laughs
Thanksgiving is one of those movies that you need to enjoy with your tongue in your cheek. With an abundance of deliciously gory killings, its a wild and blood-drenched slasher that will please anyone with a penchant for seeing the same sort of imagination in killings bought on by the likes of Jason Vorhees and Mike Myers in the throes of the 1980s. With that being said, the edge is taken away with a certain camply comedic edge that perfectly sets the tone from start to finish.
Thanksgiving wasn’t the festive horror movie that I wanted this year but it’s certainly the festive horror movie that I needed. With so many gloriously inventive killings coming so quickly, the 106-minute runtime flies by. While the storyline is simple, it does its job in setting the scene and tying the movie together with a grace that rivals many slashers that have come before it.