A good Thanksgiving horror movie has always been quite hard to come by, sure there are few out there but aside of something like 1987’s ‘Blood Rage’ the pickens are slim. Well I decided to take a chance yesterday on a brand new one called ‘Black Friday’ and was quite surprised how much I enjoyed this comedically gory and ultra gooey little horror flick. To be honest I really wasn’t expecting a whole lot even though it co-stars Bruce Campbell as the manager of a lame ass modern toy mart on Thanksgiving evening. I wasn’t particularly 100% sold on the trailer but I really wanted to see something different this year that brought some possible holiday horror cheer.
I’d at first thought this might be just another trashy low level zombie movie but right from the get go it’s clear this one’s got something more sinister going on which was immediately a relief. We start off with the discovery of a strange small glowing pulsating blob like creature discovered inside of the store by a late night maintenance man. My assumption: it must be some sort of alien, whatever it is, I’m in!
We quickly turn to our rather diverse cast of characters (whom I think are all pretty interesting) as they ready themselves for Black Friday of course! As the ravenous line of impatient shoppers grows outside of the toy mart we can see a few of them are definitely not looking too fucking healthy & the employees on the inside are gonna encounter something a lot more challenging than the average filthy greedy shoppers this year.
The plot here is about as simple as it gets, gang of ridiculous employees has to survive the night against a horde of monsters. But that’s not to say this movie doesn’t have a bit more going for it. I guess the best way to describe this one would be almost like if you took ‘The Breakfast Club’, mashed it up with ‘Evil Dead 2’ and set it inside a modern department store. There’s a lot of great character development too that adds some sweet charm & heart to the experience as well as upping the stakes for survival. Plus like I said, we get the treat of Bruce Campbell arriving to add that extra bit of b-movie legitimacy to it all.
One of the best aspects here are the monsters and the slimey, gorey effects on display. From what I could tell, almost entirely done via practical effects. It’s also got a nice lean run time of around 80 minutes, with a brisk pace, plenty of action, funny characters, gore and some pretty well done comedy. Also it’s really anyone’s guess who’s gonna survive this thing.
Yet, that’s not to say this is a perfect film, the actual toy store that it takes place in is a pretty ugly generic looking set piece. Even less fun to look at than a freakin’ Walmart. A more interesting environment could have really added a lot, a uniquely spooky looking toy store to add that extra layer of creepiness to the atmosphere. And although some of the effects towards the final standoff were pretty cool in regards to the creature, the general execution of it all felt quite clunky and a bit lazy. It could have really wowed in those final moments but fell a bit short of the mark for what had been executed quite well before, for me personally. However these are small qualms in the larger scheme of a relatively high grade creature feature. For me my favorite genre of horror.
Doubling as a Thanksgiving horror movie as well as a Christmas one ‘Black Friday’definitely delivers on many of its promises and if you’re looking for something that might be a nice double feature with say ‘Gremlins’ or ‘Krampus’ then I think there’s a decent amount here to fully enjoy. Definitely check it out if you’re feeling frisky this holiday season for surprisingly fun holiday themed horror flick jam packed with monster mayhem..