Michael Jai White, Devon Sawa, and Bruce Campbell Star in BLACK FRIDAY, new on VOD

A Thanksgiving horror-comedy just in time for the holiday season

Black Friday is new on VOD from Screen Media.

Black Friday, that crazy day of the year that declares open season on Christmas shopping. When retail employees are forced to work long holiday hours while mobbed by hordes of shoppers on the hunt for door-buster deals.

It’s frustrating and stressful enough for employees without an extraterrestrial contagion raging through and turning shoppers into monsters.

Black Friday, directed by Casey Tebo and written by Andy Greskoviak, is an agreeable horror-comedy that uses this retail backdrop as the setting of an extraterrestrial outbreak. The film features a team of retail employees who open a toy store on the night of Thanksgiving. Things go horribly sideways when an infestation of alien origin starts turning the customers into raging monsters (basically “zombie rules” crossed with shades of Body Snatchers).

The story centers on a young employee named Chris (Ryan Lee), but the supporting cast is the real draw. The store’s employees include Michael Jai White and Devon Sawa, and horror legend Bruce Campbell plays the store’s weaselly manager. Stephen Peck is an actor previously unknown to me, but he has a standout performance as a sassy and dramatic middle manager.

Whether by happenstance or design, the film ignores the current pandemic (after all, the story is about starting one), but it’s a timely reminder to be nice to retail employees during the holiday season and not act like monsters — doubly true in the COVID era.

The film keeps things kind of light and fun. The kills and effects are solid, and the finale definitely kicks things up a notch, but it’s more just sort of generally amusing than laugh-out-loud hilarity or hardcore horror. I enjoyed it, but even with the inherently perennial concept, I don’t see it as one I’d probably keep coming back to.

Whether you like it or love it, “Thanksgiving movies” is a notably lacking category, so it’s nice to add another one to the list.

A/V Out.

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