This is just a testament to what goes into making a movie and the kind of dedication that it requires. Making movies requires a lot of organization and planning, especially when it comes to executing sequences like the Black Friday riot in our movie. The level of detail and coordination needed took into account the stunts, special effects, special makeup effects, as well as ensuring that every subplot and character’s experience was captured in the chaos of the scene.
The story of Thanksgiving has deep roots, stretching back to Roth and Rendell’s childhood in Massachusetts. The pair were intrigued by the lack of a Thanksgiving-themed horror film, despite the holiday being such a significant part of their lives. The twisted, yet comedic, kills imagined by Roth and Rendell were brought to life in the 2007 Grindhouse trailer. However, it wasn’t until the rise of viral Black Friday videos and the commercialization of holidays that they found the right context to build a full-fledged feature around the concept. Roth saw an opportunity to explore themes of consumerism, greed, and desperation amid the holiday cheer. Thanksgiving was no longer just about being thankful, but had been overtaken by the frenzy of sales and a desperate hunger for Christmas gifts.
As a director with two decades of experience, Roth was able to fully realize his vision for the film. The challenge was not only in depicting the chaotic Black Friday violence but also in conveying the underlying themes of the story. The level of planning, pre-visualization, and direction required was enormous and reflected the dedication Roth brought to the project.
When it came to casting, a standout performance came from Nell Verlaque, who took on the lead role with great skill. Additionally, social media star Addison Rae made an impactful transition to film, showcasing her talent and putting in the work to squash any doubts about her abilities. Roth was aware of the scrutiny that accompanied casting a social media personality but was impressed with Rae’s commitment to her role. Pairing her with Verlaque proved to be a successful move, adding to the overall quality of the film’s performances.
The COVID-19 pandemic added a new layer of complexity to the production, causing scheduling issues and reshuffling plans. Despite this, Roth navigated through the challenges, displaying resilience and determination. His presence of mind during these disruptions and his ability to adapt proved valuable as he steered the project to completion.
In collaboration with his co-writer and longtime friend, Jeff Rendell, Roth morphed a childhood dream into a reality with Thanksgiving. The film is a realization of the creativity that has followed him since adolescence and a testament to the power of persistence. It’s a peek into the mind of a director who was inspired by the holidays of his youth and had the vision to reinvent and reimagine their traditions in a new, twisted light. Thanksgiving is not just another slasher movie; it’s an exploration of the darker side of a holiday that’s often associated with warmth and gratitude – a concept that only the masterminds behind the Grindhouse trailer could have brought to life.