Thanksgiving - Blu-ray Review

Michael Scott

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Thanksgiving


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Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :3stars:
Final Score: :4stars:




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Movie

Ahhhh, more movies based off of a fake trailer from a grindhouse film. Anyone remember the 2007 Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse? One of the main “fun” features of the film was a set of faux trailers for other “grindhouse” style films that soon went viral online. Fans got excited seeing the fake trailers and wanted more, thus we got various directors actually MAKING said fake trailers into full length films. Flicks like Machete with Danny Trejo, Hobo With a Shotgun starring Rutger Hauer, and now Thanksgiving some 17 years later (though I’m still jonesing for Wrewolf Women of the SS to get a feature length film, but sadly Rob Zombie doesn’t appear too interested).

Thanksgiving follows a fairly rote slasher premise with a few minor holiday twists for y’all. It opens up with the traditional “one year prior to recent events” where a black friday holiday event goes HORRIBLY wrong when the partakers end up storming the local department store, killing several people in the process. Fast forward a year later and things have changed for all those involved. Jessica Wright (Nell Verlaque), the daughter of the owner of the store is riddled with guilt over being one of the inadvertent instigators, and wants to somehow make things right. But before her crisis of guilt can really bear any fruit, Plymouth Massachusetts gets another horrifying holiday. This time a mysterious man in a John Carver mask starts picking off the instigators of the previous year’s tragedy one by one, murdering them and sending pictures to all involved with the dead bodies arranged around a thanksgiving table.

One by one the victims are sliced, diced, stuck in an oven and roasted, before becoming another ornament on the table while Sheriff Eric Newlon (Patrick Dempsey) and Jessica figure out just who is the killer. Is it Jessica’s ex boyfriend Bobby (Jalen Thomas Brooks) whose sports career was cut short by the event? Is it someone else? And how many bodies is the mysterious John Carver wannabe going to stack before enough is enough?

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Eli Roth’s holiday gravy boat movie is pure sleazy fun from beginning to end. Holiday themed horror movies have been out of style for quite some time, but Roth just has FUN by homaging and taking inference from so many other great holiday horror flicks and incorporating them into his Thanksgiving bloodbath. Cheesy tag lines like “this year, there will be no leftovers!” abound, and everyone is just hamming it up to level 11. In true Roth fashion he winks and nods at the camera quite a bit, interjecting dark humor into every kill (including a Benny Hill esque cat and mouse game between the mother and the killer while he’s TRYING To roast her alive), but never enough to make it slapstick or take away from the severity of the situation.

Personally, I feel that Roth stumbled a bit with his implementation of the comedy and horror together by not incorporating the humor till it was too late. The third act is full on crazy Grindhouse comic book insanity and I LOOOOOVE it to death. But the first 2 acts tend to be a bit too straight laced and more traditional horror, which makes the final act feel a little out of place. My personal take is that he should have leaned harder into the looney toons grindhouse aspect of the film from the get go instead of build up a traditional slasher, only to transition into the crazier and grungier aspects in the final act. Just my personal opinion, but it fits the motif well enough that I would have loved to have seen Roth do it.




Rating:

Rated R for strong bloody horror violence and gore, pervasive language and some sexual material.




Video: :4.5stars:
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The 2.39:1 AVC encode from Sony is a solid contender as well, with a a fantastic digital encode that doesn’t miss a beat. The film is brutally dark, with tons of shadows and not a lot of light outside of a few times the crew meet up at a diner or are walking down the street. Luckily Sony handles the dim lighting with ease, showing no signs of crush or banding whatsoever. Fine details even in the lowest of light conditions are superb, with blood splattering everywhere, and obviously fake intestines spilling all over the place. Fake grain appears to be added in to give it that grungy authentic slasher but it’s never obviously swarming or clumping like digital noise is prone to do. Black levels are superb with deep inky depth and a lovely amount of shadow detailing going on. Honestly, this is near perfect although the honey colors and sort of “faded” look Roth gives the picture keeps it from being razor perfect.









Audio: :4.5stars:
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Roth has crafted a really nice sound design as well, infusing the kills with splattering effects, showcasing some great use of the surrounds during the intense confrontations with crashes, bangs, and screams emanating from all around the listening position. Bass is tight and punchy, adding a lot of weight to the jump scares (as well as that helium explosion near the end). Vocals are clear as a bell, and the panning effects in the front of the room are really effective when the killer comes out of nowhere. All in all this is a great sounding mix that should please home theater fans for sure.












Extras: :3stars:
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• Deleted & Extended Scenes
• Outtakes
• Massachusetts Movies: Eli & Jeff's Early Films
• Behind the Screams
• Gore Galore
• Commentary with Eli Roth and Jeff Rendell












Final Score: :4stars:

Thanksgiving is goofy fun that is just what the doctor ordered. It’s mindless early 2000s slasher goodness, with Eli Roth’s penchant for over the top gore and some “winks at the camera” thrown in for good measure. Like I said, this is MINDLESS fun, but fun nonetheless. It’s not going to blaze any new trails in the horror genre, but those of us who like gory slashers will get a kick out of the crazy kills, plus it’s a nice looking and sounding Blu-ray as well. I’m still a little butt hurt that we didn’t get a 4K UHD disc, but I’ll take what I can get. Fun watch will be my official recommendation.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Patrick Dempsey, Ty Olsson, Gina Gershon, Karen Cliche, Dereck McGrath
Directed by: Eli Roth
Written by: Jeff Rendell, Eli Roth
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French (Canadian) DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1, DVS 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Studio: Sony Pictures
Rated: R
Runtime: 106 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 30th, 2024
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Recommendation: Fun Watch

 

Asere

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Thanks for the review. I will definitely check this one out.
 

Todd Anderson

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Loved that aesthetic of the Grindhouse, Mike! Have to admit... had no idea those trailers were made into films!

I'm checking this one out.
 
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