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What We’re Watching: Eli Roth’s “Thanksgiving” is a new slasher-style classic

In October, I received word from some of my friends in the film community that a movie was being released before Thanksgiving this year, simply titled “Thanksgiving.” It was described as a high-tense, over-the-top slasher with plenty of gore and even more comedy, so it already caught my attention. However, when I saw the cast included the TikTok influencer Addison Rae and Dr. McDreamy himself, Patrick Dempsey, I knew I had to see the film at the earliest opportunity. 

I had tickets to see it on opening night this past Friday. Surprisingly, the theater was way more packed than I anticipated. Additionally, this was the first film I’ve seen where I was asked for my ID. Of course, I knew it was a rated-R horror film, hence why anyone under 17 was not permitted in the theater. But after seeing the film, I wholeheartedly understand why they were so adamant about kids not being present at all.

The best way I can describe this film is that it is genuinely shocking. In films like “Scream” and “Friday the 13th,” the kills are quite simple: the killer chases the victims and they get stabbed. That is not the case in “Thanksgiving.” Director Eli Roth made sure to conjure up the worst and most creative ways for characters to die, and it was one of the things that made it so memorable. The kills were brutal and insanely unique, so much so that my roommate and I were sitting in the car dumbfounded by some of the scenes. 

In short, the film is about a Black Friday riot that ends in a tragedy, and then the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts is terrorized by a serial killer dressed as the town’s founding pilgrim, John Carver, all while the town celebrates Thanksgiving. Some commentary I have seen describes the film as “Scream” if it was Thanksgiving-themed. I’d like to disagree. 

This film is worse than “Scream,” on a gore level. There are moments in the film that are too intensely grisly and grotesque to even put into words. Sure, “Scream” has some gross moments, but I think “Thanksgiving” is on another level entirely. It’s a film you need to see on your own to believe. However, I don’t recommend the film to anyone who’s even remotely squeamish. It may make you never want to eat Thanksgiving dinner again.

There’s much more I could say about the film, such as how believable the acting was overall and how the set design perfectly captured the essence of a small village town, but I don’t think they are the most important aspects of the film. Rather, what makes “Thanksgiving” so good is just how it’s making audiences feel. Across Letterboxd, reviewers have been praising the film for how much personality it has. While it draws inspiration from classic slashers and utilizes cheap tactics like jumpscares and cheesy dialogue, somehow it still teems with originality and brutality that modern horror flicks lack. 

If you haven’t had a chance to see “Thanksgiving” in theaters yet, I recommend it. It’s disgusting, intense and shockingly hilarious. If you’re looking for a bloody good time and plenty of startling moments, consider buying tickets for the next showing at your local movie theater. It’s sure to leave you with plenty of things to talk about on the drive home. 

Mia Ashby is a senior studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnist do not reflect those of The Post. Do you agree? Tell Mia by emailing her at

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