Ah, there’s nothing like the cozy feeling of the holidays… or so we thought.
Patrick Dempsey and Addison Rae’s new film, appropriately titled Thanksgiving, gives new meaning to the phrase “holiday film.”
The slasher extends the terror of Halloween into the following turkey-day holiday, providing a first-of-its-kind holiday-themed slasher movie in which the duo is forced to face a serial killer dressed as a pilgrim. As one fan declared, “finally a Thanksgiving movie.”
In the trailer, the citizens of Plymouth, Massachusetts are targeted by the killer, who is using weapons “straight off of the Thanksgiving table” (creative, right?), to attack his victims.
Throughout, Nell Verlaque’s character recounts the horrors of a deadly Black Friday incident at a department store that has plagued the holidays ever since (“I used to love this town, until what happened that night”)—and one might theorize that the killer’s revenge has something to do with that violent tragedy—while Dempsey, who plays a sheriff, seems determined to continue Thanksgiving celebrations because the holiday is an “institution here.”
The killer, who lands some pretty gruesome kills in the trailer alone (we can’t even begin to imagine what they saved for the full feature), also utilizes social media, setting his sights on a group of teenagers, who are tagged in an Instagram post for some kind of eerie Thanksgiving dinner by a user named “therealjohncarver,” a play on John Carver, the first governor of of the Plymouth colony in the 17th century. It’s unclear how this group of teens is connected to the situation, but they’re determined to “stop him,” which will likely be easier said than done for a killer who can be seen putting one of his victims in the oven like a turkey in the final scene.
Hey, I did say it was gruesome, right?
“There will be no leftovers,” the tagline reads, while the full synopsis notes, “After a Black Friday riot ends in tragedy, a mysterious Thanksgiving-inspired killer terrorizes Plymouth, Massachusetts – the birthplace of the holiday. Picking off residents one by one, what begins as random revenge killings are soon revealed to be part of a larger, sinister holiday plan. Will the town uncover the killer and survive the holidays…or become guests at his twisted holiday dinner table?”
The trailer for the Eli Roth-directed film (he’s the man behind Cabin Fever and Hostel), which officially dropped on Wednesday, Oct. 4, is based on the faux trailer Roth 51 that initially appeared in theaters prior to the airing of 2007’s Grindhouse.
Fans seemed rather pleased with what they’ve seen so far with comments like, “Oh my! This was intense. Eli Roth is back! I like the fact that he is giving us just enough to wet our horror appetites. This movie is going to be brutal.. Great job with this trailer!” and “Every slasher fan is going to love a movie with inventive kills and at least one good chase scene and this looks like it is going to deliver big time!”
9 Holiday Movies You Need to Watch to Make the 2023 Christmas Season Bright
Tis the season to be jolly—and it helps that there’s a handful of new holiday movies coming at you from the most popular streamers.
As the festive season approaches (after Halloween, it’s all a blur until the new year) and the temperature drops (some places in the U.S. have already experienced their first snowfall of the season), there’s nothing like settling in with your loved ones for a cozy movie night filled with heartwarming moments, laughter, and love.
For the holidays, especially, there’s no shortage of programming, but there are some films that are breaking through the noise.
So throw on your flannel PJs, grab a peppermint latte or hot chocolate, and turn on the fire for an evening in front of the TV.
We’ve compiled a list of the must-watch films (there’s even something for the horror buffs and those who want to venture to the theaters for some entertainment)—consider it an early Christmas gift.
Thanksgiving – In Theaters Now
Did someone say they wanted a proper holiday-themed slasher? Well, look no further. The citizens of Plymouth, Massachusetts are targeted by the killer, who is dressed like a pilgrim and using weapons “straight off of the Thanksgiving table” (creative, right?), to attack his victims as revenge for the chaos of a Black Friday department store massacre that occurred years ago. Also starring Addison Rae, Rick Hoffman, Patrick Dempsey, Gina Gershon and more.
It’s a Wonderful Knife – In Theaters Now
Justin Long seems to be carving out a place for himself in the horror-comedy genre following his stint on Goosebumps. In this twist on It’s a Wonderful Life, Winnie (Jane Widdop) finds herself haunted by the previous Christmas Eve, where she saved her whole town from a psychotic killer. When she wishes she was never born, her wish is granted as she’s instantly transported to a nightmarish parallel universe where the masked killer is alive and slashing through the snow.
Candy Cane Lane – Prime Video – Dec. 1, 2023
Eddie Murphy is headed to the silver screen to save Christmas in this whimsical holiday tale. Murphy stars as Chris, a man who makes a deal with a mischievous elf named Pepper (Jillian Bell) to better his chances of winning the neighborhood’s annual Christmas decorating contest. Pepper, however, casts a spell that brings the 12 Days of Christmas to life and wreaks havoc on the town in the process, as Chris’ family rallies to break the spell and save the big day. Also starring Tracee Ellis Ross.
How to Fall in Love by the Holidays – The Roku Channel – Nov 3, 2023.
Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher stars as Nora, a beloved writer-turned-CEO of a Goop-like lifestyle brand called Prism who is tasked with writing a dating column about falling in love by Christmas in order to save her company. And she finds herself turning fiction into reality while teaming up with a handsome photographer assigned to the piece. Will the magic of the season help her meet her deadline?
Dashing Through the Snow – Disney+ – Nov 17, 2023
Ludacris and Lil Rey Howery join forces for a holiday comedy that will have you feeling the holiday spirit. Single father Eddie (Ludacris) comes across a man dressed as Santa, who falls through his chimney, no less, and needs help stopping a group trying to get their hands on his naughty and nice list. The Christmas adventure could change Eddie’s negative feelings toward the holiday and reunite him with his estranged daughter. Also starring Madison Skye Validum, Kevin Hart, and Teyonah Parris.
Ex-Mas – Freevee – Nov 17, 2023
When Upload’s Robbie Amell, as Graham, tells his family he can’t make it home for the holidays, they invite his ex fianceé Ali, played by Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester. But when Graham makes a surprise appearance, he’s forced to confront his ex as they battle it out to see who the family would rather spend Christmas Day with.
Genie – Peacock – Nov 22, 2023
Hailing from the filmmaker of Love Actually and Notting Hill comes a fantasy holiday film starring Melissa McCarthy and Papa Essiedu. Essiedu’s Bernard Bottle’s life is on a downward spiral following his divorce, so he rubs an antique jewelry box for luck and out emerges McCarthy’s Flora, a genie trapped in a bottle for 2,000 years after a misunderstanding with a sorcerer in 77 B.C. With her unlimited wishes, Flora works to get Bernard’s family back, while the duo find friendship and holiday magic along the way.
Best. Christmas. Ever! – Netflix – Nov 15, 2023
Brandy and Heather Graham are two former college besties, Jackie and Charlotte, who unintentionally spend the holidays together and promise it will be the best Christmas ever. But when Charlotte’s jealousy of Jackie’s highly successful Christmas newsletters bubbles up to the surface, she sets out to prove that her friend’s life can’t be as perfect as it sounds to make her feel better about her own struggles.
What Happens Later – In Theaters Now
Meg Ryan’s triumphant rom-com return alongside David Duchovny finds the two exes snowed in an airport together when their flights are delayed due to a winter storm. As they are forced to spend an evening with each other for the first time in years, they begin to wonder “What if”?
‘Puppy Love’ Movie Review — A Love Story for the Dogs (In the Best Possible Way)
When someone says something is for the dogs, it typically doesn’t mean that it’s good, but Puppy Love, streaming on Amazon’s FreeVee, definitely redefined the phrase.
*** Warning — This review has plot spoilers ***
The rom-com, starring Pretty Little Liars‘ Lucy Hale as Nicole and The Flash’s Grant Gustin, as Max centers around two polar opposites with unique meet-cute for this type of genre: after swiping right on each other, the duo decides to meet up at a park and bring their pups along for the adventure. While Nicole and Max don’t sleep with each other on the first date, their pups, Chloe and Channing Tatum, sure do, and one thing leads to another, and before you know it, these former strangers are now set to be doggy grandparents.
From there, things spiral out of control as they navigate this new dynamic together, harboring plenty of resentment and hatred for each other. It’s a classic hate-to-love scenario that also taps into the tried and proven theory that opposites attract. The duo decided that while they will support their pups, they don’t want to have anything to do with each other. However, when Nicole has to “rehome” Channing Tatum or risk getting kicked out of her no-dogs-allowed apartment, she essentially moves in with Max, which is a huge step for any relationship, especially one where two people aren’t dating and have a tense relationship, to begin with. But as they keep telling themselves, they are doing it solely for the dogs.
You go into this movie expecting Nicole and Max to end up together because rom-coms are predictable, let’s face it, but it’s all about the journey and not the destination—the moments tender moments that lead them to the realization that they are better together than they are apart. And it’s that character growth that makes this movie so enjoyable and different than all the ones set in small towns or around the holidays. They are two very different people with a shared love for their pets that eventually form a found family and find love together. It helps that Hale and Gustin have an organic chemistry.
Nicole starts off as closed off and emotionally guarded/unavailable, and her love life is a disaster as she can’t even properly pronounce the name of the guy that she’s dating while he’s breaking up with her. Max, on the other hand, has OCD and social anxiety, and it’s gotten so bad since his last relationship that he doesn’t even go in to work anymore (though it’s unclear why he doesn’t just get a remote job in the first place?), which is threatening his livelihood. At times, it seems like Gustin forgets that Max isn’t a confident former superhero, but he always reels it back in before it gets away from him. He really leans into the loveable goofball personality, and it’s nice to see him portray a character that isn’t limited to a superhero drama script.
It’s also refreshing to see both the characters portrayed in a realistic way as flawed human beings with realistic struggles and fears that is just doing their best. It may be a love story at the end of the day, but it’s also a love story about doing what’s necessary to better yourself.
Nicole starts to open up and share the vulnerable parts of herself with Max, a first since her dad died and she gave up her dreams of going to Udub, while Max braves going out into the public, learning that he doesn’t mind venturing out past his comfort zone. It’s sweet to see them both bring out the best of each other while also pushing each other’s boundaries because that’s what love is.
We get a lot of insight into both of their psyches and before you know it, you find yourself rooting for these crazy kids to find a way to be together, not just for the sake of the matchmaking pups, though they’d surely benefit, but for their own well-being as humans deserving of love and companionship—both the human and animal kind.
They may not have seen it at first, but they need each other in their lives, a point which becomes all too obvious when they eventually part ways after an explosive fight; it’s a turning point in the film where those things that they initially despised about one another are now the quirks that they love.
They’ve grown on each other by a twist of fate— and it’s more than just puppy love.
There’s a handful of supporting characters that appear throughout the film that elevate it, and while Hunter (Al Miro) is the least-enjoyable (read: insufferable) and quite frankly, unnecessary in every way, Max’s friend Sid (Nore Davis) and Nicole’s mom Diane (Jane-fricking-Seymour) break up the tension in a fun way. As for the best supporting cast member, well, it goes to Dr. Hert (Michael Hitchcock) who is just strange enough that it’s downright hilarious.
The movie, like any cliche rom-com, isn’t groundbreaking, nor will going to go down in history a la Barbie, but it’s a feel-good flick—an enjoyable watch with a fresh premise that will surely warm your heart. It’s got a well-paced plot, all the elements that make up a good story and keep audiences engaged, plenty of relatable moments (for millennials and singles alike), cute dogs rescued from a shelter (and the dumpster area in front of an apartment), and well, Hale and Gustin, who aren’t hard on the eyes either.
And props to whoever wrote the scene about the realities of trying to be intimate while owning dogs—nothing on television and in movies has ever been more relatable.
Puppy Love is premiering on Amazon Freevee starting August 18.
Lucy Hale and Grant Gustin Find ‘Puppy Love’ in New Trailer
It’s for the dogs… and fans of Pretty Little Liars and The Flash!
Lucy Hale and Grant Gustin are set to star in a new rom-com together as Puppy Love, an Amazon Freevee original movie, will premiere on August 18.
The synopsis reads: “After a disastrous first date, wild child Nicole (Lucy Hale) and socially anxious Max (Grant Gustin) vow to lose each other’s numbers, until they learn that their dogs found a love match, and now puppies are on the way! The hilariously mismatched Nicole and Max are forced to become responsible co-parents, but may end up finding love themselves.”
The trailer depicts the terrible first date, along with the aftermath of the duo learning that their dogs are expecting and they will be grandparents.
Hale’s character’s stating, “What are you whining about, at least you got laid,” to her dog, the culprit in this disastrous meet-cute, is one of the highlights of the teaser. The doctor senses some sexual tension, though he insists it’s between the dogs, but he’s likely not catching a whiff of the hate-to-love-you vibes that Nicole and Max are emitting.
The two agree that they will move in together for “the kids” but end up falling for each other and “balancing” each other out.
While the trailer does seem to give too much away, as is usually the case these days, it’s evident that this is one of those feel-good movies that fans will enjoy despite knowing how things will turn out.
Puppy Love also marks Gustin’s first post-CW role, so hopefully there will be a promising turnout from longtime fans continuing to support his work.
You can watch the trailer below:
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