Eli Roth shows he knows how to have a good time with the decidedly old-school horror thriller Thanksgiving. There are as many laughs as scares as the body count ramps up. And while no new ground is broken, he fills the frames with a nod and a wink to all the classics that have come before.
The story starts with an ugly example of consumer greed, both the retail store forcing its staff to work on that most gluttonous of holidays and the unruly crowd waiting anxiously to score a free waffle iron upon entry. The resultant riot is shown in all its run-red glory and the violence on display is the action that tips the first domino.
Roth keeps the constantly dwindling cast in his sights and when they are dispatched it shows no lack of imagination. With films of this genre, it is always a challenge to come up with a new level of gruesomeness as well as invention and Roth scores high on both fronts. As an indicator of the recommended audience age, it is not so much shocking as humourous.
With a cast that fully embraces the idiosyncrasies of this type of storytelling and the fully developed sense of fun at play here, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves immensely. While the film’s crescendo could have used a bit more polish, Thanksgiving proves to be way more fun and far less frightening.