A Thrilling Thanksgiving Black Horror Film
While most people picture Halloween and Christmas having the most popular horror films for their respective holidays, the horror film Pilgrim (2019) released on Hulu as part of the Into the Dark series. While it was not a great horror film, it did have depth and a fun, thrilling aspect to the storyline. In the United States, Thanksgiving has become a holiday surrounded by giving thanks, giving back to our community, and being grateful for those in our lives. However, for a majority of families it has become an excuse to throw large extravagant feasts, posting for the whole world to see. This is the main premise that the film Pilgrim touches on. The filmmakers question what the real meaning of Thanksgiving is in a constantly modernizing society while throwing in gore and horror channeling the energy of a 1980’s slasher will give a unique experience to any horror enthusiast on Thanksgiving.
Pilgrim does not start off like a typical horror film but rather it comes off as trying to be a comedy or satire of modern-day society’s obsession with social media combined with their ignorant blind trust in the information they come across. The family of the film directly reflects this through the step mom’s obsession with their social media presence and the fact that she hires random people from the internet to give her family a “traditional” Thanksgiving. Immediately upon their arrival, it is made quite clear that these individuals are not the type of people one would want in their home, an unnerving presence to almost all the members of the family.
The satirical aspect of these unsettling individuals providing the traditional experience is that they are dressed as pilgrims who just got off the Mayflower. One of the pilgrims, Ethan, has extremely strict puritanical views and beliefs which he enforces onto the family. He violently lashes out at the family, who he perceives as sinning and being glutinous towards social media. The way he punishes the family is rather gory and understandably so as both the director and screenwriter worked on four of the Saw films. The ancient torture mechanisms that the pilgrims construct under the dictation of Ethan are more frightening than many modern contraptions. While it does have a comedic aspect to it and is not meant to be taken completely seriously, the effects only make the audience shiver in terror. It seems so real, but it is so clearly romanticized as well which makes for a unique holiday film.
The filmmakers emphasize the paranoia in the family through the quick camera movements and strange, unsettling lighting that can be felt in stress and chills by the audience. Some extremely brutal events occur throughout this part of the film, which definitely is not suitable for young audiences and really should only be watched by adults with discretion. If you feel like spicing up your Thanksgiving, while you’re cooking your turkey and stuffing, put on Pilgrim, which can be found on Hulu.
Into The Dark: Pilgrim (2019) Official Trailer