A masked man sows terror in a small American town in revenge for a tragedy that occurred the previous year at Thanksgiving.
Ever since he concocted a Thanksgiving trailer parody to accompany Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse Project presentation in 2007, Eli Roth has promised to one day make it into a feature film. The wait was 16 years. Was it worth it? Yes and no.
Yes, because we find the Eli Roth of the good old days, that of Cabin Fever and Hostel. Recharging his batteries with the family film with the entertaining The House with a Clock in Its Walls did him a world of good after a series of resounding failures (The Green Inferno, Knock Knock, the remake of Death Wish). Here he is back in shape, ready to have fun.
It starts from the jubilant introduction where a riot during the traditional Black Friday causes deaths. The madness of capitalism is expressed on screen in the bloodiest way possible. An outrageous moment that will not be the last.
From there, the story does not fulfill all of its promises, developing a conventional slasher, stuck between the homage to Halloween and the Scream-style satire. The senseless scenario is consummately ridiculous, while the unsympathetic characters follow one another. Between the usual heroine (Addison Rae, TikTok star) and the hunky sheriff (Patrick Dempsey, obviously), neither deserves to make old bones.
What interests Eli Roth – and horror fans at the same time – are the scenes of carnage. The filmmaker gives it his all, with a good dose of jumps, dark humor and disgusting moments. Thanks to a few unhealthy streaks, turkey meals won’t taste the same anymore. And no one will want to attend a parade or perform on the trampoline.
No doubt this extended version of Thanksgiving pales in comparison to its fake original trailer. But the film restores faith in the horror genre after the successive debacles of The Exorcist: Believer and Five Nights at Freddy’s.