Thanksgiving: a good slice of horror, stuffed with ideas and humor (review)

Thanksgiving: a good slice of horror, stuffed with ideas and humor (review)

Eli Roth finds his bite with this slasher which steps on the flowerbeds of the latest Scream.

Since he was old enough to watch horror films, Eli Roth has never been able to understand why no horror film was set around Thanksgiving celebrations. It’s true: horror loves public holidays, there are scare films set at Halloween, at Christmas (Black Christmas, Sweet night, bloody night…), on Valentine’s Day (Valentine’s Day Murders) and even April 1st (Weekend of terror)… Why not then the “Thanksgiving” celebrating the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers in America?

This Thanksgiving story worked so hard for Roth that he shot a movie trailer Thanksgiving imaginary for the double program Grindhouse friends Rodriguez and Tarantino, alongside others trailers for laughs – two of which have already given rise to real films subsequently: Machete of Rodriguez, and Hobo with a shotgun, with Rutger Hauer as a homeless shotgun enthusiast. Around Thanksgivingtherefore: the end of a long obsession nerd for Eli Roth and, in the end, a good surprise, a fun and inventive film, handling both creepiness and farce, humor and brutality, and where the director finds a little of the energy of his beginnings .

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It all begins with a riot on a Black Friday evening (like in the last Toledano-Nakache, yes, but bloodier), a very clever prologue where the horror does not need a bogeyman to erupt, but only collective fury. of a borderline zombie crowd, who are promised PlayStations and toasters at knockdown prices, even though they have not yet finished digesting the traditional turkey on the last Thursday of November. Terrific shortcut, propelled by a dirty kid mood, where Roth tells how America went from founding humanism to degenerate capitalism, and which places the film on a farcical and outrageous register, but underpinned by real concern . Incidentally, in fifteen minutes he manages to say more about the bad instincts of the crowd than David Gordon Green did in the entirety of Halloween Kills.

Eli Roth, thanks to him, did not seek to reproduce here the aesthetic Grindhouse real-fake original trailer, with striped film and all the worn paraphernalia of vintage pastiche. He rather enjoys walking on the flowerbeds of the last Screamfeaturing a group of nice, somewhat generic high school students, their noses in their smartphones, where they receive threats from a crazy killer (who wears a mask of John Carver, one of the colonists of the Mayflower, first governor from Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the film takes place), and who are helped in their fight against evil by a kind sheriff with graying temples, played by Patrick Dempsey, modeled on the Dewey Riley created by David Arquette at Wes Craven.

But Thanksgiving hits much harder than the last two Scream dated. More inspired in satire, more visceral in violence, it stands out for the inventiveness of its murder scenes, funny, disgusting, always surprising. The film is not free from flaws, sometimes over-the-top plot twists, but rightly boasts a form of roughness, an absence of sophistication. “It’s corny, subtlety”, says a character, as if to justify Roth’s sometimes heavy-handed approach. The director of Cabin Fever has in any case accomplished its mission: Thanksgiving now has its horror film. Not a great film, no, but a good one. And now what? A franchise? Unless Rob Zombie continues the madness Grindhouse and transforms its trailer into a feature film for Werewolf Women of the SSwith Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu.

Thanksgiving: Horror Weekby Eli Roth, with Nell Verlaque, Patrick Dempsey, Milo Manheim… In theaters November 29

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