Directed by Eli Roth, Thanksgiving is a slasher film released in 2023. Written by Jeff Rendell, the film is based on a story created by both Roth and Rendell. They produced the film alongside Roger Birnbaum. This movie is inspired by Eli Roth’s made-up trailer with the same title featured in Grindhouse (2007). It stands as the third full-length movie adaptation originating from fictitious trailers within Grindhouse, following Robert Rodriguez’s Machete (2010) and Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun (2011). Spoilers Ahead!

Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

On Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a crowd gathers outside the RightMart store. They are waiting to pick essential stuff in readiness for a Black Friday sale. The crowd seems to be very restless as they are eagerly waiting for the discounted price. Jessica Wright, whose father, Thomas, is the store owner, allows her boyfriend Bobby and friends Evan, Gabby, Scuba, and Yulia to enter the store early through a side door.

Since the crowd was already waiting for a long time when they spot the kids entering the store, the outside crowd rushes into the store in a frenzy, leading to tragic consequences with multiple casualties, including Amanda Collins, the wife of store manager Mitch. Bobby, a basketball player, and Jessica’s boyfriend, fractures his arm while attempting a rescue. One Year has passed since the incident, and in this year’s Thanksgiving there are people who go against this.

What happens when RightMart announces the sale again next year?

One year later, despite the objections from Mitch and several other locals, RightMart is gearing up for another Black Friday sale. Meanwhile, Jessica and her friends find themselves tagged in a social media post showing a Thanksgiving table tagged with their names. Bobby, who previously dated Jessica, returns to Plymouth due to his injury in the riot last year, opting to work for his uncle. His return irks Jessica’s current boyfriend, Ryan. Meanwhile, as the announcement of this year’s sale goes live, a waitress named Lizzie falls victim to an attack and is killed by an individual dressed in black attire wearing a John Carver mask.

Upon investigation, the police learn that Lizzie had been present during the Black Friday incident, leading them to suspect that the Carver mask guy may be targeting those connected to the massacre. Jessica assists the investigation by supplying footage of the riot she had found in her father’s private folder. Her stepmother Kathleen deleted all the footage of that riot night from last year and stored them in that folder. Jessica brings all the evidence to Sheriff Eric Newlon in the town. Meanwhile, the Carver masked guy goes on a rampage in Plymouth, resulting in the deaths of numerous residents, among them RightMart security guard Manny and high school students Amy and Lonnie.

Are Jessica and Scuba able to save Yulia?

Thanksgiving (2023) Movie Ending Explained - hof
Nell Verlaque in Thanksgiving (2023)

The masked man abducts Evan and Gabby, while Jessica narrowly avoids becoming a victim herself. She tries to describe the killer as much as she can, but the police find no clue whatsoever about the guy’s identity.  Yulia’s father decides to relocate their family to Florida, but since the police are unable to stop the killings, Scuba decides that he must protect Yulia no matter what. Jessica and Scuba rush to McCarty to borrow some weapons to kill the murderer.

When they reach Yulia’s house, they find her father and the bodyguard lying in front of the entrance door. Yulia is calling them by screaming their names. But by the time Jessica and Scuba reach there, they do not have many options to help her. Sadly the killer has the upper hand as they are unable to prevent him from gruesomely murdering Yulia with a buzzsaw before leaving the scene. This makes the police rethink their plans to catch the killer as Jessica’s father decides to pull off the sale this year.

Thanksgiving (2023) Ending Explained:

What happens at the parade?

The authorities plan a ThanksGiving parade to draw out the killer. However, the killer figures out their strategy and brutally kills a mascot right in the middle of the parade, causing chaos by throwing smoke bombs into the crowd. The panic results in the killer kidnapping the Wright family and Scuba. Later we find out that the killer is sort of marinating Jessica’s stepmother Kathleen to roast her alive in an oven. Later he presents her roasted body as the turkey at the dinner table, surrounded by hostages and the remains of his victims.

In the meantime, the killer live streams the brutal killing of Evan before Jessica manages to free herself and lure him away from the others. Escaping by climbing over a fence and sprinting through the woods, Jessica finds refuge in a parade warehouse and discovers Sheriff Newlon lying unconscious on the road. Later she follows a figure wearing Carver’s mask inside, thinking of him as the killer. Subsequently, she identifies the person as Bobby. She helps Newlon to catch Bobby red-handed, but somehow he manages to escape.

Who is the real killer?

Soon, the police arrive at the spot, rescuing the survivors to their safety. Once they depart, leaving Jessica and Newlon alone, she observes the same thorny debris from the forest on Newlon’s attire and shoes. She finds the same debris on her while running away from the killer. This makes her believe that he is the real killer. Newlon admits to his grievous actions, disclosing that he had an affair with Amanda, who was carrying his child before her death in the riot last year. This personal loss motivated him to seek vengeance on those he held responsible, especially the Wright family who owns the shopping mall. Before he can kill Jessica, he finds out that Jessica inadvertently livestreams his confession, prompting him to violently attack her. Newlon totally loses his calm and attacks Jessica. But, right at that moment, Bobby intervenes and rescues her from Newlon.

Is Newlon alive?

While trying to run away in Bobby’s uncle’s tow truck, Newlon somehow stops it and advances toward them, wielding an ax. In a desperate move, Jessica shoots at a turkey parade balloon, triggering an explosion that ends with Newlon in flames. The next day, an ambulance takes Bobby away, and Jessica reconnects with Ryan, Gabby, and Scuba. However, the police fail to locate Newlon’s remains, presuming he was consumed in the blast. But, at that moment, Jessica suspects one of the fire extinguisher guys as Newlon. Even if this is just a suspicion from all the traumas she had to go through, she continues to be haunted by nightmares seeing a fiery Newlon trying to kill her once and for all.

Read More: 20 Underrated Horror Movies of the 2010s


Thanksgiving (2023) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
The Cast of Thanksgiving (2023) Movie: Patrick Dempsey, Addison Rae, Milo Manheim, Jalen Thomas Brooks, Nell Verlaque, Rick Hoffman, Gina Gershon
Thanksgiving (2023) Movie Genre: Holiday/Horror, Runtime: 1h 47m
Where to watch Thanksgiving

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