With such classics as Black Christmas, Krampus, and Silent Night, Deadly Night, the Christmas holiday season has long been the principal beneficiary of the holiday-themed slasher film. Well, step aside ye old yule tide, there’s a new season in town.

Eli Roth's holiday slasher film, Thanksgiving, is a delightful and twisted homage to the classic '80s horror genre, injecting fresh blood into the familiar veins of Holiday Horror Classics.

"an exciting, tension-filled odyssey that leaves audiences unsettled by its delicious mix of horror and pitch black humor"

Of course, Thanksgiving was born more than a decade-and-a-half ago as a fake trailer for Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse double feature back in 2007. Hobo With a Shotgun, and Machete both received their day in the feature-length sun, and now it’s Roth’s turn with Thanksgiving.

The film opens as we see teen Jessica (Nell Verlaque), the daughter of Thomas Wright (Rick Hoffman, Suits) owner of the local RightMart store in Plymouth, Massachusetts, let into the store early along with her group of high school friends to get a jump on the frenzied crowd.

However, when the hundreds of crazed shoppers gathered outside the store see the teens inside, they storm the building, leaving in their wake the carnage of impalements, amputations, and crushing injuries, as three shoppers lie dead on the blood-soaked floor.

Cut to one year later, when a string of horrific murders puts the community on edge as the town is set to celebrate the holiday with a parade and another Black Friday RightMart sale. Chief among the potential victims are some of the same young teens who were at the stampede a year ago, including Jessica’s current boyfriend, Ryan (Milo Mannheim), and her estranged boyfriend Bobby (Jalen Thomas Brooks) who is back in town for the holidays.

All the while, the deaths are being streamed and posted on social media by the killer who calls himself John Carver and sports a period capotain and pilgrim mask. As the blood and carnage continue, we’re run through a gauntlet of possible suspects. You can see where this is going, right?Thanksgiving

What sets Thanksgiving apart from most slashers is Roth's clever social commentary that slices through the festivities. With a sly grin, the film takes gleeful jabs at American consumerism and excess, exposing the absurdity of holiday celebrations. Roth doesn't shy away from laying bare the darker side of humanity, exploring themes of greed and the corrosive impact of social media on society. In this holiday horror show, there are no leftovers – only a sharp critique of our own insatiable appetites.

Additionally, Roth employs the use of practical effects rather than life-sucking CGI, which brings a much-appreciated visceral and realistic quality to the on-screen mayhem while harkening back to the golden era of slasher cinema. Each severed limb and splatter of blood feels real, enhancing the overall viewing experience. Roth's dedication to the craft shines through, creating a cinematic feast for horror enthusiasts.

Another of Thanksgiving’s strengths lies not just in its blood-soaked scenes – of which there are many – but in its ability to provoke thought. Roth uses the slasher genre as a canvas to paint a larger picture of societal issues, making Thanksgiving more than just a gore-fest. The tension is palpable, and the scares are punctuated by moments of biting satire.

In Thanksgiving, Eli Roth serves up a holiday horror extravaganza that not only pays tribute to its predecessors but also carves out its own niche in the slasher subgenre. It's a wickedly entertaining ride that manages to be both frightening and thought-provoking, ensuring that this holiday season, audiences will be left with more than just the taste of cranberry sauce.

4/5 stars


Blu-ray Details

Blu-ray + Digital

Home Video Distributor: Sony Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- January 30, 2024
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English; English SDH; French; Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French (Canada): DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Audio descriptive
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

The fine folks over at Sony provide a delightful feast for horror hounds with the Blu-ray + Digital edition of Eli Roth's Thanksgiving. The disc comes in a single-hubbed blue amaray case and is then housed within the cardboard slipcover which sports the same cover artwork.


Admittedly, it feels kind of strange repeat watching a Thanksgiving film in late January, but not even a third of the way in, I remembered why I loved this one so much.

And that same gleeful childish delight goes for the 1080p, 2.39:1 AVC HD picture, which is pure pleasure to behold. The picture is always sharp and crisp when it needs to be, yet still carries that grindhouse-y flavor Roth featured in the theatrical release.

Colors are bright and vivid, particularly during the daytime parade scene, while the interior, dimly lit scenes hold together nicely with no noticeable blotches or errors. And kudos to the filmmakers and technicians for not going throwback on this one with a grainy, scratched film appearance. The updated, modern look and feel of the picture is much appreciated, while also respecting the technical difficulty of the transfer from 35 mm film. Bravo all around!


Yes, there's no Atmos track, but the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track certainly gets the job done superbly. And what a great film to experience in your home theater space. Creeps, crawls, punches, and splatters emanate from all corners of the room as every speaker gets its fair share of the load.


And if the quality of the video and audio weren't enough to convince you to add this one to your collection, Sony goes all in with the bonus material, including a feature-length commentary, some behind-the-scenes pieces, a blooper reel, extended scenes, and some archive VHS footage clips form Eli and Jeff's early films.


  • With director Eli Roth and writer Jeff Rendell

Special Features:

And if the quality of the video and audio weren't enough to convince you to add this one to your collection, Sony goes all in with the bonus material, including a feature-length commentary, some behind-the-scenes pieces, a blooper reel, extended scenes, and some archive VHS footage clips form Eli and Jeff's early films.

  • Behind the Screams (04:00)

  • Gore Galore (04:00)

  • Deleted, Alternate & Extended Scenes (34:00)

  • Outtakes (05:00)

  • Massachusetts Movies: Eli & Jeff's Early Films (12:00)

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

Film Details


MPAA Rating: R.
107 mins
: Eli Roth
 Jeff Rendell; Eli Roth
Patrick Dempsey; Rick Hoffman; Gina Gershon
: Horror
There Will Be No Leftovers.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Every weapon he's using is straight off a Thanksgiving table."
Theatrical Distributor:
Columbia Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 17, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 30, 2023
Synopsis: After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts - the birthplace of the infamous holiday.