Thanksgiving | Third Space


There will be no leftovers
Thu 16 Nov 2023



⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2 (out of 5)

Based on director Eli Roth’s mock trailer of the same name from his cult classic film, Grindhouse. Thanksgiving is the third feature film to be adapted in the collection after Robert Rodriguez’s Machete (2010) and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun (2011). Roth now makes his gruesome return to the big screen, expanding upon the story he once developed more than a decade prior.

After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired serial killer terrorises the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts - the birthplace of the holiday. Donning his best John Carver mask and hat, the killer picks off the townsfolk one by one. What started as random revenge killings are revealed to be part of a larger, sinister holiday plan connecting Jessica (Nell Verlaque) and her friends. Meanwhile, local Sheriff Newlon (Patrick Dempsey) and his team of small-town officers plan to uncover the identity of the killer before he can take any more lives. Will Jessica and her friends survive the holiday or end up as the main course at the killer's twisted holiday dinner table?

Trailer contains violent scenes

From the very first scene, the 80s horror slasher inspirations are immediately noticeable: the over-the-top practical effects work, a cast of rowdy teenagers in a small town, and a barebones screenplay that mainly serves as a way to connect glorified kills than tell a thought-provoking and subversive story. At no point does the film ask the audience to take a moment and think about the underlying themes serving the story. Instead, this tale only asks that they cheer and laugh their way through each character's grotesque demise. And what fun it is. The killer delivers more than his fair share of Thanksgiving-related puns, and the extreme violence he serves up can turn laughable at times due to how ridiculous it all becomes. Much like serving food around the family table, the pace is unrelenting and aggressive; it never waits for the audience to question the reality of what just happened but pulls you along to the next showcase of shock and horror.

It is also worth mentioning that even though the film pays tribute to many Thanksgiving practices, those without much knowledge of the American holiday are still guaranteed an enjoyable time at the theater.

Long-time fans of the slasher genre and Roth’s earlier work will be thankful to see these themes back on full display in Thanksgiving. The kills are loud, visceral, and hark bark to an earlier time of 80s grindhouse horror. Yet, this isn't the meal I'd recommend for the average viewer looking to experiment with the horror genre.

Reel Dialogue: Is horror the right genre for us to watch?

Justice, violence, human life, sex, language... The opportunities for consideration are plentiful in Thanksgiving.

Some may ask the question, "What should we put in front of our eyes for the sake of entertainment?"

This film rips open the wound, representing the desire to enjoy something that screams moral objection. Psalm 101:3 says, "I will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar." When filmmakers add specific components of writing or imagery for realism or for the sake of artistic licence, there may be an excuse on their part, but where does the accountability come down to the viewer? Should I be putting graphic violence and language before my eyes and into my mind?

The answer may seem obvious to some, but how would you answer that question? Something to consider before seeing Thanksgiving.

Yet, films of this ilk open the door to many conversations. Mainly the issues surrounding justice and the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Suppose the horror genre is one you enjoy and embrace. Have you considered that there are more significant considerations to engage with after watching a film like this one? Even in the simplicity of the writing, you can see that questions can be answered through the Bible.

  1. Is revenge ever justified? (Romans 12:19, Proverbs 24:29)
  2. Can we become better as humans?' (Genesis 1:27, Mark 7:20-23)
  3. Can mankind's hearts change from evil to good? (2 Corinthians 5:17, 2 Timothy 2:21)

If you would like to discuss justice and God, reach out to us at Third Space. We would love to chat with you about this and more.

The word becomes film

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