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  • Writer's pictureStephen Yanni

Thanksgiving - Gobble Up the Terror

Updated: Jan 3

Rating: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5 stars)

Released 11-17-2023

Watched 11-16-2023

Reviewed 11-17-2023

Viewed in Theater - Using Cinemark Movie Club

If we let the police handle this, we’re all gonna end up 50 percent off.

"Thanksgiving" emerges as one of the most exhilarating slasher films of the decade, blending classic terror with innovative storytelling. Set in the historic backdrop of Plymouth, Massachusetts, this movie elevates the genre with its unique blend of suspense, horror, and a deep-seated mystery.

The plot revolves around a horrifying spree of revenge killings by an axe-wielding maniac, set against the aftermath of a Black Friday riot at a big box store. The brutality and randomness of these killings initially baffle the residents and law enforcement, led by Patrick Dempsey's compelling portrayal of Sheriff Eric Newlon. Dempsey delivers a nuanced performance, balancing the toughness required of a law enforcer with the vulnerability of a man grappling with unprecedented horror.

Rick Hoffman, as Thomas Wright and Gina Gershon's Amanda Collins, provide a strong, not-so-relatable presence amid the chaos. Young talents Milo Manheim (Ryan), Addison Rae (Gabby), Nell Verlaque (Jessica), and Karen Cliche (Kathleen) inject fresh energy into the film. They embody the fears and aspirations of a generation caught in the crosshairs of a nightmarish reality, even if they are partially responsible for the chaos, making the terror more palpable and immediate.

Directorially, "Thanksgiving" excels in its ability to create tension and suspense without relying solely on gore (But there is a lot of gore). The film's pacing is superb, with each scene meticulously crafted to build towards a climax that is both shocking and satisfying. The use of Plymouth as a setting adds a layer of historical intrigue, making the film a haunting reminder of the darker chapters in American history as well.

"Long-awaited by fans of Eli Roth, 'Thanksgiving' has finally transitioned from a concept to a full-fledged cinematic experience. Originally introduced as one of the audacious, tongue-in-cheek trailers for fictitious '70s movies featured in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's 'Grindhouse,' this film has been a topic of intrigue and anticipation. These trailers, known for their over-the-top, darkly humorous take on classic genre tropes, provided a perfect breeding ground for 'Thanksgiving' to evolve. Roth's signature style, marked by a blend of grotesque horror and sardonic wit, promised a unique take on the slasher genre. Now, with its release, 'Thanksgiving' fulfills that promise, delivering a film that meets or exceeds the expectations set by its notorious, cult-favorite preview in 'Grindhouse.'"

In summary, "Thanksgiving" stands out in today's slasher genre, revitalizing familiar tropes with a fresh perspective and compelling performances. It's a must-watch for horror enthusiasts and a fine example of how to breathe new life into well-trodden narratives. The film leaves a lasting impression, not just for its thrills but for its deep dive into the psyche of revenge and the haunting shadows of the past. There are not a lot of movies to watch between Halloween and Thanksgiving; this one may fit the bill for the next few years to come.

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