“Thanksgiving” directed by Eli Roth, creator of the “Hostel” movie series, is a campy and cheesy love letter to slasher movies. It takes many of the tropes shown profusely throughout the genre and dials them up to eleven.
The movie follows an axe-wielding Thanksgiving inspired maniac who terrorizes the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts a year after a deadly Black Friday riot. He systematically picks off his victims one by one in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. As the murders continue a much more sinister plot is revealed.
This movie leans heavily into tropes of cheesy slasher b-movies and the whodunnit aspects of movies like “Scream”. It has a very two dimensional plot. It stays safe with story beats and doesn’t trek off the beaten path at all, but a movie doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel to be enjoyable.
The performances vary from pretty bad to mediocre, but in a way that is mesmerizing and entertaining to watch. Patrick Dempsey of “Grey’s Anatomy” fame is particularly bad with a New England accent that is only there half the time. Nell Verlaque shows some inklings of a great performance as the main character, but sadly the script doesn’t give her the room to fully shine.
The movie is also very gory and that viscera is brought to life with the use of practical effects. There are many kills in its 106 minute runtime and most of them are elevated by the great, albeit cheesy, effects work. There are some that look amazing and convincing and some that look as fake as can be, but they are all clearly lovingly crafted. Some may even make you want to look away from the screen.
Although this movie is cheesy in almost every way possible it knows that and leans into it. This earnest knowledge of the kind of movie it is makes it an immensely fun movie to watch with friends. If you want to watch a movie to compliment your Thanksgiving feast this year, you will definitely want to indulge in this cheesy 80’s-esque slasher.
Directed by Eli Roth
Starring: Nell Verlaque, Addison Rae, Rick Hoffman, Patrick Dempsey, Milo Manheim, Jenna Warren, Karen Cliche, Jalen Thomas Brooks, Tim Dillon, Tamaso Sanelli
My Rating: ★★★½