Horror is a fascinating genre, isn’t it? With a myriad of subgenres such as torture porn, holiday horror, slashers, elevated horror, horror comedy, haunted horror and God knows what else, there’s something for pretty much everyone. Personally, I’m privy to slashers and horror comedy above most else, but I’m always open to seeing what new can be brought to the genre in any form, and Eli Roth did just that in this year’s take on a few different genres with the aptly named Thanksgiving.
Famous for being a pioneer of the torture porn subgenre with Hostel as well as directing the Green Inferno, Eli Roth almost fizzled out into making critical monstrosities such as Knock Knock and the House With a Clock In Its Walls as well as apparently the soon-to-be-released adaptation of Gearbox Games’ Borderlands which is rife with production issues.
All those aside, Roth really delivered Thanksgiving from a true place of passion, after all, it was adapted from a fake trailer of the same name created for the Grindhouse double feature helmed by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez which featured fake trailers from filmmakers such as Rob Zombie (House of 1000 Corpses, Halloween 2007, The Munsters), Edgar Wright (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim), and of course Roth himself.
But that’s enough of the history of it all, how does the movie itself function, legacy non-withstanding? Surprisingly well actually.
The movie has a very good sense of humor in that it’s both very morbid but also really topical, and none of it feels out of place as opposed to something like the David Gordon Green Halloween Trilogy from Blumhouse. One of the things I really did like was that all of the deaths were just so darkly ironic, which absolutely was intentional, hell they even have puns with at least a few of them which was appreciated.
Going into this, I heard a lot of comparisons between this and Scream, which is one of my favorite horror movies, just in general. Yeah, absolutely it wears that influence like a badge of honor, it’s a full on who dunnit, except unlike the Wes Craven film, this is a lot, and I mean a lot more brutal, truthfully, it’s like a twisted cross between Scream and Terrifier, not as twisted as Terrifier certainly, and not as heartfelt as Scream, but it creates something wholly its own identity as bizarre as that sounds.
My only real gripe, and it’s not even a big one, is that the killer is very obvious, once you see how he’s introduced, if you’re even a little genre savvy, you’ll know it’s him. Beyond that, they kind of left the door open to a sequel, albeit delivered with a completely insane homage to another slasher that I appreciated.
I also just really loved the kills in this, it’s not often a horror movie gets me to wince at something on a screen, but everything just felt so visceral and so painful, but at the same time you’re laughing your ass off while being wholeheartedly disgusted, and by God it’s successful in that respect.
Thanksgiving is by no means a perfect film, but it’s a fun one, and I really enjoyed this cast of characters from the final girl, to her friends, to the sheriff, I’d love to see Roth deliver a sequel with this same breakneck pace and vibe, I’m giving Thanksgiving an 8/10.
Rating: 8 out of 10