Original title:Thanksgiving
Director:Eli Roth
Running time:106 minutes
Release date:17 november 2023
One year after a Black Friday turned into chaos, a mysterious killer takes inspiration from the traditional Thanksgiving holiday and terrorizes the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, birthplace of the famous feast. As resident after resident is eliminated, the seemingly random murders reveal a larger, more sinister plan. Will the townspeople discover the killer and survive the holiday... or become guests at his utterly twisted Thanksgiving dinner ?

Mulder's Review

Eli Roth's long-awaited leap into the slasher genre with Thanksgiving is a remarkable attempt to resurrect the glory heralded in Grindhouse's fake trailer in 2007. Set in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the film attempts to capitalize on the satirical brilliance of the original trailer, promising a mix of campy humor, gratuitous violence and nostalgic nods to '80s slashers. However, while Thanksgiving succeeds in delivering bloody mayhem and inventive kills, it fails to fully embrace the biting wit that distinguished its predecessor.

Set against the backdrop of the tragedy of a Black Friday sale on Thanksgiving night, the film takes place a year later with a masked killer, reminiscent of Pilgrim John Carver, seeking revenge on those deemed responsible for the previous year's massacre. Despite a promising premise and the presence of seasoned actors like Patrick Dempsey, the film suffers from a noticeable change in tone from the original trailer. Roth's characteristic blend of humor and horror is diluted, making the film less humorous and campy than fans might have expected.

In terms of narrative, the film, set in 2023, centers on Sheriff Eric Newton (played by Patrick Dempsey), who attempts to unravel the mystery of the killer. Unfortunately, the acting, despite the presence of Patrick Dempsey and Gina Gershon, is uniformly mediocre. The use of familiar faces fails to elevate the film beyond generic '80s horror, and the absence of a convincing plot or well-developed characters leaves audiences guessing.

Eli Roth's inclusion of Patrick Dempsey adds a touch of nostalgia, but the film often feels like it's going through the motions, lacking the creative spark found in genre classics like Scream or recent hits like Saw X. Although the film relies heavily on the nostalgia factor, recruiting Dempsey and attempting to capture the essence of a bygone era, it struggles to stand out amid a field overloaded with horror offerings.

On a positive note, the practical effects, ably handled by Oscar-winning artist Adrien Morot, deliver on the promise of inventive kills. However, the film fails to fully exploit its satirical potential, and its reliance on slasher tropes makes it feel more generic than groundbreaking.

Despite these shortcomings, Thanksgiving manages to carve out a place of its own in the horror landscape. Its unabashed resurrection of a dormant genre and its homage to the '80s, with holiday-themed horror nods, create a sense of novelty in a market not oversaturated with such offerings. The film successfully delivers the expected gore and mayhem, satisfying audiences eager for a return to classic slasher entertainment.

Thanksgiving may not reach the satirical heights of its original trailer, and it may not be a masterpiece of the genre. Nonetheless, it successfully exploits the primitive pleasures of the slasher, offering a thrilling and nostalgic experience for fans yearning for a return to the genre's roots. Even if it doesn't leave a lasting impression, Thanksgiving is a notable addition to the resurgence of the slasher genre in the 2020s.

Directed by Eli Roth
Screenplay by Jeff Rendell
Story by Eli Roth, Jeff Rendell
Based on Thanksgiving by Eli Roth, Jeff Rendell
Produced by Eli Roth, Roger Birnbaum, Jeff Rendell
Starring Patrick Dempsey, Addison Rae, Milo Manheim, Jalen Thomas Brooks, Nell Verlaque, Rick Hoffman, Gina Gershon
Cinematography : Milan Chadima
Edited by Michele Conroy, Michel Aller
Music by Brandon Roberts
Production companies : Spyglass Media Group, Dragonfly Entertainment, Electromagnetic Productions
Distributed by TriStar Pictures (United States), 
(through Sony Pictures Releasing)
Release date : November 17, 2023 (United States), November 29, 2023 (France)
Running time : 106 minutes

Seen November 24, 2023 at Gaumont Disney Village, Salle 2 seat A20

Mulder's Mark: