A (spoiler-free!) guide to Thanksgiving now that it's on Netflix

The campy 2023 slasher movie hits Netflix this weekend and here's the scoop!

A mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts in TriStar Pictures and Spyglass Media Group, LLC THANKSGIVING
A mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts in TriStar Pictures and Spyglass Media Group, LLC THANKSGIVING /

Eli Roth is infamous at this point for his twisted horror stories. The man does not hold back and his latest film, Thanksgiving, received a lot of buzz when it debuted in 2023. Following its box office success, Thanksgiving is the next big Sony movie coming to Netflix and will begin streaming on Saturday, February 17.

Thanksgiving has a unique origin story as the film started out as a fictitious trailer Roth created alongside Jeff Rendell for Robert Rodriguez and Quentino Tarantino's 2007 movie Grindhouse. He and Rendell re-teamed to make the feature film with Rendell writing the screenplay and Roth directing.

We've gotten plenty of slasher movies based around Christmas and Halloween, but Thanksgiving is one of only a handful of Turkey Day-themed carnage. Anyone who missed it in theaters or eager to revisit can check it out this weekend.

What is Thanksgiving about?

Thanksgiving kicks off with one of the best opening sequences I've seen in a long time. Set in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the movie begins with a disastrously bloody Black Friday massacre at a fictional store resulting in the deaths of several citizens.

The following year, a killer wearing a John Carver mask starts murdering people who all seem to have a connection to the previous year's tragedy. What initially appears like a random rampage soon becomes evidence of a more coordinated and sinister plan for revenge.

Thanksgiving 2
Addison Rae stars in TriStar Pictures and Spyglass Media Group, LLC THANKSGIVING /

Meet the cast and characters

Thanksgiving mixes recognizable names with some up-and-coming stars. The most notable actors in the movie are Patrick Dempsey, Gina Gershon, Rick Hoffman, and Addison Rae. Dempsey is best known for playing Derek Shepherd a.k.a. McDreamy on Grey's Anatomy, though he's also no stranger to the horror genre, having starred in Scream 3.

Rae is relatively new to the acting game after becoming a super successful TikTok star with millions of followers across all of her social media platforms. She previously starred in the Netflix film She's All That and will next star alongside Ryan Reynolds in Animal Friends.

Hoffman's biggest claim to fame is playing Louis Litt on Suits, but he was also on Billions and previously worked with Roth on Hostel. Gershon has starred in television shows like Rescue Me, Riverdale and New Amsterdam, but before that she got famous for her work in movies such as Showgirls, Face/Off, and Bound.

Here's the full cast list:

  • Patrick Dempsey as Sheriff Eric Newlon
  • Addison Rae as Gaby
  • Milo Manheim as Ryan
  • Jalen Thomas Brooks as Bobby
  • Nell Verlaque as Jessica
  • Rick Hoffman as Thomas Wright
  • Gina Gershon as Amanda Collins
  • Gabriel Davenport as Scuba
  • Jenna Warren as Yulia
  • Tomaso Sanelli as Evan
  • Ty Victor Olsson as Mitch
  • Russell Yuen as Detective Peter Chu
  • Karen Cliche as Kathleen
  • Derek McGrath as Mayor Cantin
  • Joe Delfin as McCarty
  • Jeff Teravainen as Deputy Bret Labelle
Thanksgiving Parade from TriStar Pictures and Spyglass Media Group, LLC THANKSGIVING /

Just how scary and gory is it?

If you've seen Eli Roth's other movies—films like Hostel, Cabin Fever, and The Green Inferno—then you probably have a good idea of what to expect from Thanksgiving in terms of gore. It is a hard R-rated horror film. This is a very bloody slasher movie with some disturbing death scenes, including showing people get violently beheaded, cooked alive and stuffed like a turkey, and even scalped by a shopping cart.

However, unlike Hostel and The Green Inferno, Thanksgiving is a lot funnier and leans more into the campiness of 1990s slashers films like Scream. So, even though there is a lot of blood and guts in Thanksgiving, the movie's darkly comedic tone makes those scenes a bit less scary.

Still, Thanksgiving probably isn't the best choice for anyone who has a sensitive stomach. The killer is mean-spirited, so the death scenes can come off as particularly brutal even when they are played for laughs.

Watch the official trailer right here to get an idea of what to expect:

Does the cat die in Thanksgiving?

For those who paused the movie the second they saw a cute cat appear, don't worry, nothing happens to the cat! In fact, (SPOILERS!) the killer ends up feeding the little guy and giving him some pets before leaving. It's a nice change of pace from the usual horror film where cats get killed off generally without exception.

A sequel is already in the works, slated for 2025

Even though Thanksgiving didn't necessarily break box office records, it still performed well enough in theaters (and with audiences) to warrant a sequel. Eli Roth shared a video announcement on his Instagram (embedded below) revealing that a sequel had officially been greenlit and is due out in theaters in 2025.

Thanksgiving starts streaming on Saturday, February 17, on Netflix. Set a reminder or add the movie to your watchlist right here.

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