Thanksgiving (film, 2023)
The movie wastes no time diving into the action with its opening Black Friday scene set in a big-box store. It immediately caught my attention with the tense, chaotic atmosphere as shoppers violently clashed over marked-down doorbuster deals.
Though over the top in its depiction of consumerism gone mad, I appreciated the social commentary it provided on our culture of excess. It succeeds in setting the stage for why someone may seek violent revenge a year later.
We're then introduced to our group of teenagers a year after the tragic events.
One of my main criticisms is that the characters are one-dimensional and archetypal. They feel like placeholders to move the plot along rather than fully fleshed-out people I'm invested in. Still, the actors do their job of serving up the right degrees of snark, charm, and vulnerability their basic roles require.
I was mildly surprised by the time the big reveal arrived, although the clues were there. The justification provided ties back to the opening but raises some plot holes under closer inspection. Still, as a twist, it serves its twisty purpose, even if not entirely foolproof or deeply layered. What follows is a climactic showdown that executes the standard slasher finale beats.
One area that didn't quite land for me was the film's tone. It tries to balance popcorn horror thrills with black comedy moments, but the tonal shifts felt uneven and sometimes took me out of the chills. A more cohesive voice may have resulted in better flow.
Ultimately, while Thanksgiving delivers the visceral goods hardcore slasher fans demand, it left me wanting more regarding heart, scares, and screenplay.
The premise offers avenues for social commentary that felt only partially explored. I can see this finding cult love for those seeking its brand of grue.
For my tastes, it was just watchable -- 3/5.