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Blu-Ray : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
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Release Date: January 30th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 2023

Thanksgiving

Overview -

Eli Roth and his best friend from childhood have made the film they always dreamed of - the holiday horror slasher flick Thanksgiving which was one of the faux trailers from the Tarantino/Rodriguez double feature Grindhouse. The result is an amazingly funny, and scary film that should be the beginning of an ongoing horror franchise. The gore and horror are amped up in each scene. The 1080p HD transfer looks radiant and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio track sounds great. The extras are all worth the time. Highly Recommended!

 

After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts - the birthplace of the holiday. Picking off residents one by one, what begins as random revenge killings are soon revealed to be part of a larger, sinister holiday plan. Will the town uncover the killer and survive the holidays… or become guests at his twisted holiday dinner table?
 
SPECIAL FEATURES
BLU-RAY™ AND DIGITAL

  • Exclusives
    • Deleted & Extended Scenes
    • Outtakes
    • Massachusetts Movies: Eli & Jeff’s Early Films
  • Also Includes
    • Behind the Screams
    • Gore Galore
    • Commentary with Eli Roth and Jeff Rendell

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
Blu-ray + Digital
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p AVC/MPEG-4
Length:
106
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.39:1
Audio Formats:
English, French (Doublé au Québec), Spanish 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English & French (Doublé au Québec) - Audio Description Tracks 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles/Captions:
English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Release Date:
January 30th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

Holiday horror films are such a delight. These films get to play at least once a year when someone's favorite holiday comes around whether it be Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day, or in this case Turkey Day with a new film titled Thanksgiving from filmmaker Eli Roth. Serving as the third movie to make it to feature film land from Tarantino and Rodriguez's Grindhouse double feature, this faux trailer has now received the big-budget treatment with a new slasher entering the horror landscape. What looks to be a run-of-the-mill slasher flick turns into a wonderfully, funny, suspenseful fight-fest that goes all the way with its absurdity and awareness that serves up a great recipe for a Thanksgiving meal of blood, guts, pilgrims, and axes.

Roth knows the horror genre inside and out. With his simple, laid-back style of terror in Cabin Fever and Hostel that has transformed into more gore with Green Inferno and everything else in between- Roth feels at home inside this fan-favorite world. Now it's his turn to show his slasher chops while showcasing those darkly funny societal moments that everyone is guilty of during Thanksgiving. When this holiday starts its celebration every year, turkey and dressing are not at the top of everyone's mind. It's the shopping and waiting early in lines to get a chance to purchase that item at a steep discount. This element starts Thanksgiving with a town full of people waiting for the local big superstore to open on Black Friday where a mob of people storm the store before it opens, resulting in a riot and people being trampled to death. While it's funny to watch and horrifying at the same time, these things have. happened more than once in real life.

Fast forward to one year later and the anniversary of the riot and the deaths of the townspeople are on top of everyone's brains. Just like in every slasher flick, someone turns up dead via a masked killer. This time, it's a mysterious person dressed up as a Pilgrim where not only the protagonists are safe but anyone in town could be served up as leftovers after Thanksgiving in several gruesome ways. And this is where Roth and the film succeed. Not with the half-baked story of who could be the killer or their motive, which is absurd, but rather when the film pushes you towards one story plot and tone and completely chops the head off of the narrative and goes full John Wick mode both literally and figuratively against the setting of a Thanksgiving Day parade. It's a beautiful, bloody sight to breathe in, as it is infectious to watch the actors and director just have a ball with the carnage on screen.

Patrick Dempsey leaves his McDreamy icon status at the door and fully commits to his sheriff duties here with grit and raw nerves. Gina Gershon is a delight in everything and even in her small role here, turns in a fantastic performance. But the trick is that everyone is in on the joke and is aware of their surroundings and the tone of the film and it carries over to every brutal death sequence and conversation that is had, no matter how over-the-top. In quite a few Roth films, the director waits until the final act to put the pedal to the metal, but in this exquisite slasher movie, there are quite a few bloody bits that are peppered throughout, giving a fast-paced run-time and narrative that feels fresh with all the gooey trimmings of body parts and guts. Thanksgiving is a rare treat, especially in this day and age where almost every slasher flick feels stale and rote. Luckily, this little horror movie is fresh and dripping with delicious horror sauce. So much in fact, that there will be a sequel.

 

Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Thanksgiving carves its way to Blu-ray + Digital Code via Tristar Pictures with a disc that is housed inside a hard, blue plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. The artwork features the market Pilgrim killer with an axe. Nothing to dancy here yet. There is a digital code insert as well.

Video Review

Ranking:

Thanksgiving comes with a brilliant 1080p HD transfer that allows for every gory bit of flesh and muscle to stand out nicely.

The color palette is beautiful and natural. Primary colors are bold, specifically in exterior shots on bright sunny days. The amazing contrast of colors in the opening sequence from the warm orange and brown colors of Thanksgiving to the colder blue and greens inside the superstore looks amazing. Filters are applied to the underground lair of the killer that always looks decayed and phenomenal. The parade sequence gives a ton of red color with splashes of blood and guts everywhere that mix with the strong primary colors of the wardrobe and buildings.

The detail is very sharp and vivid, revealing, facial pores, individual hairs and stubble, textures in the masks and clothing, and so much more. The practical effects look excellent and every rubbery mask and entrail looks fantastic. This is a long way from that Grindhouse trailer where this feature film just looks amazingly beautiful. What a horrifying, glorious gift in high definition.

Audio Review

Ranking:

This release comes with a DTS-HD 5.1 audio track that sounds excellent. The sound effects are robust and loud on all accounts. That opening scene inside the store where everyone is trampling and knocking items over fully engulfs the sound landscape. The surround speakers bring forth screams, metal clanks, people cheering in the parade, and more. Thanksgiving plates and silverware make great noises as well. The death scenes of stabbing noises, chops, swings, and flesh being hit by metal are great and gooey. The score and song cues always add to the fun of the horror while the dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow along with. This is a fantastic-sounding DTS mix.

 

Special Features

Ranking:

There are 60 minutes of bonus materials included here, along with an audio commentary track with the filmmakers. A few short behind-the-scenes are included, but not a ton of interviews with the cast. There are a ton of deleted scenes, some of which are worth watching for the extra gore.

  • Audio Commentary - Eli Roth and Jeff Rendell deliver a fun audio commentary for the film. Eli and Jeff have been friends since kindergarten and got to make this film together where they discuss making movies with each other in their childhood, comparing their real friends to the characters in the movie, and dissecting the narrative, tone, and practical effects too. It's a fun listen.
  • Behind The Screams (HD, 4 Mins.) - Eli and Jeff talk about always wanting to make this type of horror movie since they were growing up and how they finally were allowed to.
  • Gore Galore (HD, 4 Mins.) - This focuses on the practical effects of the film with some great behind-the-scenes footage.
  • Outtakes (HD, 5 Mins.) - A good collection of laughs, flubbed lines, missed cues, splashing blood, and dancing.
  • Deleted Scenes (HD. 35 Mins.) - A whopping 35 minutes of extended scenes and deleted sequences, some of which include more gore and torture.
  • Massachusetts Movies (HD, 12 Mins.) - Eli and Jeff talk and show five of the short films they made when they were little kids.

Final Thoughts

Thanksgiving is a wonderful breath of fresh ingredients inside the horror genre that brings a new slasher to the mix for a holiday film. It's witty, funny, and exquisitely gory. This could be a new franchise for people to enjoy. The 1080p HD transfer looks excellent and the DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix sounds wonderful. The extras are worth watching too. It's safe to bet that there will be a 4K release here stateside sometime this year, some import markets are getting one from the start, so hopefully that wait isn't too long and we get some more extras and stylish packaging. Until then this Blu-ray comes Highly Recommended! 

Order Your Copy of Thanksgiving on Blu-ray