Thanksgiving director Eli Roth says the real villain of his new holiday slasher film is aggressive Black Friday consumerism. The horror movie inspired by the mock trailer from 2007's Grindhouse stars Patrick Dempsey, Addison Rae, Milo Manheim, Jalen Thomas Brooks, Nell Verlaque, Rick Hoffman, and Gina Gershon.
The official description reads: “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?”
In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Roth says, “Seeing those videos of Black Friday stampedes really struck a chord with me. The holidays are about being thankful, and [people saying] ‘I'm so thankful for what I have and thankful for my health and family.' And then two hours later, people are killing each other for a flat-screen TV or a waffle iron! I love the absurdity of that.”
Eli Roth Says Thanksgiving Is About “Consumerism Run Amok”
Eli Roth is best known for directing horror movies such as Hostel, Cabin Fever, and The Green Inferno. As an actor, he played Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. The long gap between Roth's Thanksgiving trailer in 2007's Grindhouse and this year's full-length movie allowed him to infuse the story with more social commentary. Roth says:
“It's about consumerism run amok. Hostel deals with that as well. It's something I do find terrifying: That people can justify [violent] behavior if they're going to get something on sale. What's horrifying is how people can dehumanize someone else to the point where they're not a person anymore. It becomes a sports event.
“But it also comes from an even darker place. People can't afford to get Christmas gifts for their kids because they're not getting paid enough money… so they need these sales. It's not even that it's about [their] greed. It's the greed at the top level that forces people into these gladiator games. That's the real sickness that's underneath it — it's not that the people are greedy, it's that people are forced to do this because they're not paid enough money and there's no middle class anymore. On a subconscious level, that's what's disturbing to all of us: We're all forced into this rat race of fighting over things that we think we need by overlords that are just the ones getting rich from it.”
Thanksgiving is playing in theaters nationwide.
Robert DeSalvo is a professional writer and editor with over 25 years of experience at print and online publications such as Movieline, Playboy, PCH, Fandango, and The A.V. Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles, the setting of his favorite movie, Blade Runner. Robert has interviewed dozens of actors, directors, authors, musicians, and other celebrities during his journalism career, including Brian De Palma, Nicolas Cage, Dustin Hoffman, John Waters, Sigourney Weaver, Julianne Moore, Bryan Cranston, Anne Rice, and many more. Horror movies, sci-fi, cult films as well as gothic, postpunk, and synthwave music are what Robert geeks over.