Friday 29 December 2023

Thanksgiving (2023)

"Perfectly Adequate Slasher"

Following on from its recent UK cinema release, Eli Roth's latest directorial effort gets its UK Digital premiere from Sony.

A terrible riot on Black Friday at the RightMart superstore in Plymouth, Massachusetts result in numerous injured and several deaths. One year later, those whom someone deems instrumental in the disaster are being bumped off in ways that are all linked to the theme of the American festival of Thanksgiving. Dressed in a pilgrim's outfit and wearing the mask of Mayflower passenger and New World colonist John Carver, the killer regularly posts pictures on the internet of an increasingly well-populated dinner table with reservations being filled by his victims. And so the hunt is on by both the law and a group of teenaged friends to stop the killer before he gets them all with his great big axe. Or basting kit.

THANKSGIVING starts off rather brilliantly, with the Black Friday stampede superbly built up to and choreographed, resulting in an unnerving opening sequence. Unfortunately it all goes down hill after that, deteriorating into an overlong, generic slasher which starts to feel all a bit silly as we head towards the (rather fumbled) climax. The killer's explanation for the selection of his particular victims at times feels misjudged and rather unfair (although one presumes the killer is mad after all) and the John Carver mask does at times make it look as if the killer is instead William Shakespeare in a funny hat. Of course US viewers might well see it differently.

The gore effects are good and well executed, the young leads are perfecting likeable, and the cold, damp Plymouth location is nicely reminiscent of classic slashers like MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Even so, THANKSGIVING is highly unlikely to win the slasher subgenre any new converts but if you're already a fan you'll want to check this one out, too. Here's the trailer:

Eli Roth's THANKSGIVING is available on Digital from Sony to rent or buy from Monday 1st January 2024 

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