Posted in: Movies, Review | Tagged: eli roth, thanksgiving, The Carver
Thanksgiving took sixteen years to get to us, and it is worth the wait. Eli Roth has given us a gory treat we can enjoy for years to come.
- Eli Roth’s ‘Thanksgiving’ delivers a 2000s slasher vibe with an iconic killer.
- Gory, funny, and fast-paced, the film is a must for horror fans.
- Memorable characters and performances by Nell Verlaque and others shine.
- A third-act slaughterfest cements ‘Thanksgiving’ as a new horror staple.
Thanksgiving took sixteen years to make it into theaters, and boy, is it worth the wait. Paying homage to the late 90s/early 2000s slasher films, Eli Roth and Jeff Rendell have created a seminal slasher in The Carver that should become an instant horror icon. While not as over the top and nasty as the original trailer that was a part of Grindhouse in 2007, the gore is there, the jokes land well, and the cast is game for anything. This is destined to be a between Halloween and Christmas watch for years to come.
Thanksgiving Is A Traditional Slasher In The Best Way
Let’s get this out of the way right now: there have been some online who have complained that this is not done in the grindhouse style like the original trailer. The film is better for it. The polish and look of the film are perfect for the tone that Roth and Rendell are going for. It was a brilliant choice to move away from that pulpy feel. It lets the town of Plymouth, where the film is set, breathe and become a character itself. That begins right from the start with the inciting incident for the whole movie, a Black Friday sale. This setting allows us to meet and spend quality time with the characters, set them up for success, and form a bond with them that many slashers do not allow time for. Sure, there are clear “you are here to die” characters, but even they have memorable scenes or lines given to them so that it matters when they go. Twenty minutes in, you care about what happens to them, even if you hope for the worst.
All of the hallmarks of 2000s horror are here. The meanness, the brisk pace, the mystery killer. Well, it is not much of a mystery if you put an ounce of thought into it, though the killers’ motives are at least a bit of a surprise at the end. One addition to the stew is the humor. This film is funny in a variety of ways. The gore is so over the top and gross that you can’t help but chuckle at the absurdity. Puns and catchphrases land well and add to the overall fun feeling. You never get bored, even in the second act when Roth spends a bit too much time playing Red Herring with a love story that doesn’t matter and pays off weirdly.
Much of that is due to the cast, and Roth has assembled a great one to bring Thanksgiving to life. Our final girl, played by Nell Verlaque, does a great job mixing 2000s-era final girl sentimentalities with a modern capability. She is easy to root for, as are most of the teens. The older cast holds their own, though, with strong turns for Patrick Dempsey, Rick Hoffman, and Karen Cliche standing out. Cliche gets one of the best centerpiece (literally) scenes in the film and nails it. So many bit players from Roth’s previous films also do good work here.
Aside from the pointless love story, this is a strong entry in the slasher pantheon. The film’s third act is an all-timer, with all the brutal fixings that one would expect from that original trailer. All the best bits from the original Thanksgiving short are here and spruced up, and it makes for a fun game to pick out the easter eggs. There is no way that this does not become a horror staple. Roth has made one of his best films here, and it is well worth the time it took to get it to us.
Review by Jeremy Konrad
Thanksgiving took sixteen years to get to us, and it was well worth the wait. Eli Roth gives us a gory good time with one of the best slasher films in years.
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