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Rated: Unrated (Because they “couldn’t afford a rating”)
Running Time: 66 minutes
- Audio Commentary
- Blooper Reel
- Photo Galleries
Every holiday deserves a horror movie, so if Halloween, Christmas, and April Fool’s Day get one, then Boxing Da–I mean, Thanksgiving should get one, too.
ThanksKilling isn’t so much about the forgettable cast of college students who ultimately meet their doom in implausible and ironic twists on their single characteristic trait as much as it’s about a killer turkey named Turkie, a murderous puppet voiced by writer/director Jordan Downey.
Romanticizing bad horror films hits a new low with ThanksKilling, which fails to squeeze laughs or scares out of these dead teenagers, failing as bad slasher and a parody of bad slashers.
It’s hard to expect a lot from a movie that flaunts its terrible puns so ostensibly on its cover–it’s even harder to expect anything other than boobs in the first second from a movie that brags “boobs within the first second” on the same cover–, but ThanksKilling fails to live up to even those lowered expectations–there are at least thirty seconds of text before those boobs make it on screen.
Intending to be a bad horror film loosely connected to the Native American genocide surrounding the first Thanksgiving, ThanksKilling falls flat during their opening credits, failing to set a proper comedic tone. The film is a hodgepodge of bad ideas, bad jokes, and bad pacing, a common fault of bad movies, which is what makes them bad. Yet, ThanksKilling proudly wears its badness on its sleeve, forgetting that bad movies generally fail because they are boring, because the stories and character generally aren’t worth following. ThanksKilling is no different.
Beginning seconds after the first Thanksgiving, our Freddie Kruger-inspired fowl, murders a shirtless pilgrim for the crimes committed against the country’s indigenous people. Five hundred and five years later, he hunts down a group of college students for some reason. They in turn read some books about defeating the homicidal turkey to mixed results.
Like most bad horror movies, the plot is a tool to get these kids out in the open for some murder. One will be right back and ends up being knifed to death in the kitchen, another was just too damn hot in this sweater and ends up with an arrow in the throat. You’ve seen it a hundred times. ThanksKilling understands this formula and uses it to its advantage. Teenager leaves the group. Teenager runs into Turkie. Turkie puns and murders teenager. Rinse. Repeat. This happens roughly five or six times over the film’s 66 minutes and never once does it happen in a way that’s remotely charming, funny, or scary. In other words, the senseless parade of murders is pointless.
These are things, however, we come to expect from bad movies. Formulas, which are so predictable one need not even see the movie to know the plot, are put in place so that we can enjoy the failed attempts at fulfilling audience expectations. But fans of bad movies may find themselves disappointed. Bad art, like good art, cannot be entirely premeditated. It must grow from the collective understanding of the filmmakers that, on some level, they are making something good. It is in watching them fail that the audience finds enjoyment. In Troll 2, for example, this appears in director’s misguided understanding of American culture and the English language. In The Room, it’s Tommy Wiseau’s failure to see a movie before buying his camera.
Alternately, ThanksKilling misses this point entirely. Director Jordan Downey sets his film up to be a bad movie, laying out bad shots, giving his clearly inexperienced cast an awkward script, and designing cheap effects. The whole production is in on the joke. There’s no spirit, nothing to respond to, and thus, nothing to enjoy. The result is a lazy, if not condescending film.
Ultimately, this is the point that Downey and co. miss. Bad movies cannot be fabricated or orchestrated, because like any art worth consuming, it must come from somewhere pure. Ed Wood made movies because he thought he was making something great. He just sucked at making them. Watching a group not try for sixty-six minutes makes an already boring movie annoying.
Much Like the film, the DVD set plays up how rotten and pathetic the film is, describing the cheapness of the production and the first scene’s nudity — which was a bit misleading because there is no nudity after it. The bloopers and commentary may interest some, but if you didn’t work on the production, you’ll probably turn off and forget about this turkey around the half an hour mark.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars