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Home > Thanksgiving (2023): A Review

Thanksgiving (2023): A Review

"Thanksgiving" is a thrilling new holiday themed horror film. Pilgrim with ax. Movie poster.

Eli Roth’s Film Doesn’t Leave A Lot Of Leftovers – Thankfully!

Thanksgiving, released November 17th, 2023, was directed by Eli Roth and produced by Spyglass Media. The story opens with two families celebrating Thanksgiving in Plymouth. A down-to-earth family is shown with the manager of the local big box store, Mitch Collins, celebrating the night with his wife, Amanda Collins, and the local sheriff, Eric Newlon. Across town are the owners, Thomas and Kathleen Wright, who call Mitch and tell him he needs to open the store for Black Friday. The lead of the film, Jessica Wright, joins her friends, Gabby, Yulia, Evan, Scuba, and boyfriend, Bobby, as the group stops at the store before their plans. Due to Jessica’s father owning the store, she is able to get in early with her friends, which angers the shoppers who are made to wait. Unrest breaks out, and soon, the shoppers storm the store, and chaos ensues. 

The Parade Float Throughout the Film

The film manages to break numerous detriments often applied to horror films and follows a narrative that is incredibly coherent, at least for the most part. Almost every plot point makes sense with the overall story being told and never feels too contrived or out of place. Each scene that occurs on screen feels like you’re floating through the story and never dropped into a random scene that occurred just for the purpose of getting the biggest reaction from the audience. That being said, the ending unfortunately drops off slightly after the final act begins to take place. Near the ending, it feels as if the story has been placed at 1.5x speed and is just breezing through necessary plot points. Up until that shift in narrative telling, the film felt incredibly well-paced and written. 

The ending, in general, feels as if a lot had been left on the cutting room floor, and unfortunately, that bogged down the perception of the film. That being said, the ending doesn’t take away from the overall feeling the film leaves you with. The setting chosen for this film adds heavily to the perpetual creepiness, managing to make numerous brightly lit settings incredibly unsettling in the best way possible. Something that Roth was able to complete was creating a genuinely terrifying atmospheric movie while also presenting the viewers with a murder mystery that isn’t so easily solvable as many slashers today. Thanksgiving is an amazing display of Roth’s ability to craft a murder mystery while presenting us with gory kills.

"Thanksgiving" is a thrilling new holiday themed horror film by Eli Roth. Pilgrim with an axe over his shoulder.

A Surprising Dessert For The Viewer

Given the lineup of actors starring in this film, one couldn’t be sure what to expect, especially considering the styles several of these actors have. Surprisingly, the acting and the characters were a huge plus in the movie. The main cast of characters manages to reference Gen Z humor without feeling out of place or out of character. They were honestly pretty well done for a horror film; some felt a bit flatter than others, with a few too many characters acting as red herrings, but overall, no one felt badly written in the slightest. Everyone was presented with their reasons for the actions they took, and no one felt too over the top and out of place. The lead herself (Nell Verlaque) is a fine character. Nothing stands out too much about her, but she also isn’t a horrible final girl to follow, showing great characteristics and being incredibly resilient – a possible sequel could explore her a bit more, and she could potentially rise to the ranks of a final girl like Laurie Strode. 

Surprising show stealers were Addison Rae as Gabby and Tomaso Sanelli as Evan, both presenting comedy and horror in a leveled way that showcased their abilities as actors in both genres. Looking at Roth’s past work, one might be shocked as most of his characters are usually unsympathetic bigots or just generally mean, which is for obvious reasons – to make us appreciate the gore and not feel bad when we watch them suffer. Roth doesn’t entirely deviate from this, making the first few kills occur to people who just aren’t generally good people, but after that, he goes after the supporting cast, which makes their kills that much more painful to watch. We’ve seen these characters be genuinely kind and have fun, and seeing them suffer like this just makes the viewer miss them even more.

Dinner’s Served – A 4.5 Star Rating

Thanksgiving is an amazing submission into Eli Roth’s repertoire of filmmaking, with a mixture of amazing kills and gore, good plot structure, a generally positive amalgamation of characters, a surprising twist, and an overall incredibly fun time. This is 100% something that one must see in theaters, and it is the perfect way to watch this movie. This is the perfect film to rewatch on streaming, not only to watch it again and have a great viewing experience but also to delve into the murder mystery aspect and look for the planted seeds. 

Watch Thanksgiving in any theater and stream it on Prime Video.

"Thanksgiving" is a new holiday themed horror film my Eli Roth. Girl is tied to a chair and screams.

Thanksgiving (2023) Official Sony Pictures Entertainment Trailer

Source: Dead Talk Live

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Elke Simmons' writing portfolio includes contributions to The Laredo Morning Times, Walt Disney World Eyes and Ears, Extinction Rebellion (XR) News/Blog, and Dead Talk News.