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Review: Eli Roth’s “Thanksgiving” is a self-aware holiday-themed slasher

Thanksgiving+was+released+on+Nov.+17%2C+just+in+time+for+the+Thanksgiving+holiday.
Courtesy of IMDb
“Thanksgiving” was released on Nov. 17, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

The latest horror film from director Eli Roth, “Thanksgiving” is a gory, self-aware and thrilling watch that hit theaters this November. Just in time for the holiday, “Thanksgiving” features the community of Plymouth, Massachusetts as they prepare for the holiday’s festivities. But no one is prepared when a masked pilgrim starts murdering members of the community one by one. Are the kills targeted or just random?

At the start of the film, we see residents of Plymouth waiting outside of a local store, being held back by a metal barricade and security in preparation for Black Friday. The more these customers are told to wait, the more angry and impatient they become. Due to the lack of security, soon enough, chaos ensues, and Black Friday turns into a violent tragedy. The intensity of this scene portrays the greediness and impatience of people’s wants when it comes to technology and materialistic items. 

Dressing as the pilgrim, John Carver, the killer in “Thanksgiving,” starts to target people who were present on that Black Friday disaster. Featured in the film are actors such as Addison Rae, Patrick Dempsey (People’s Sexiest Man Alive this year), Milo Manheim, Nell Verlaque and many others. As the killings become more active and seemingly personal to the main group of high school students, they take precautions to protect themselves. The slogan for the film plays with the tradition of Thanksgiving as “There Will Be No Leftovers” is the threat the town receives from the masked killer. The deaths and special effects in “Thanksgiving” are not for the weak-stomached. Roth creates a satirical feel to the kills as one of them involves corn on the cob skewers. 

“My goal is to ruin everyone else’s Thanksgiving dinner,” Roth said in a New York Times interview.

Roth took inspiration for this film’s violence from “Evil Dead” and emphasized how he has always wanted to make a gory Thanksgiving film since he made a fake trailer in 2007. 

Similar to the “Scream” franchise, “Thanksgiving” embraces the “whodunnit” theme as well as the use of phone calls and social media from the killer. With a plot twist ending, “Thanksgiving” gives room for more leftovers. As of November 30, “Thanksgiving 2” is in the works, set to release in 2025. 

Rating: 9/10

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