As far as holidays go, Thanksgiving always seems to be very unrepresented in the horror genre. There’s not really much out there, aside from a select few films to choose from. With there being plenty of holiday horror anthologies floating around within the genre, you would think that Thanksgiving would at least make an appearance, but never seems to. FRIENDSGIVING breaks that monotonous cycle by incorporating this underrated holiday, housing its own dark twists and surprises.
Directed by Samantha Kolesnick and written by Sean Richard Buddle and Kolesnick, FRIENDSGIVING depicts a holiday gathering that goes gruesomely wrong. New to the neighborhood, Rita (Kelsey Andrae) drops in on her neighbors to borrow some extra ingredients for her Thanksgiving dinner-for-one. Seeming a bit off, neighbors Grace and Martin (Kaylor Otwell and Frank Pontillo) graciously invite Rita to stay for their annual “Friendsgiving” event. Hesitant at first, Rita accepts and joins this strange family for dinner as the eerie events of the evening begin to unfold.
It’s no surprise that I love short films, and FRIENDSGIVING definitely hits the mark as an enjoyable watch. This is a fun and unique independent short with a good premise and just the right amount of gore. It taps into the rather uncomfortable awkwardness of being a stranger at a social gathering, which heightens the tension from all angles. Kolesnick really showcases her directing chops through subtle but impactful lighting and the heavy nervousness that hangs in the air provided by the cast and tonal plot points. All of the acting was on-point, and everything about this short worked well together and naturally fell into place. Be sure to check out this charmingly cannibalistic horror short at a film festival near you!