Kristen: “There’s no such thing as an evil turkey. There’s no such thing as an evil turkey. There’s—”
Turkey: “No such thing as an evil turkey. Oh wait…I lied!”
– The most clever dialogue in this film
Tonight I am the bearer of sad news. My sarcasm is gone.
Okay, so it isn’t gone for good. But it has been shocked out of me for a good few days, so tonight I’ll have to settle for sarcasm’s uglier cousin, snarky cynicism.
Let me back up.
There is a motion picture in existence called “Thankskilling,” released as an independent horror film in 2009. The plot revolves around a turkey, who has the same size and appearance as everyday turkeys. In fact, he’s quite a bit like normal turkeys, except that his eyes are yellow.
And oh yeah, he talks and kills people, too.
Yes, this is real. Yes, it can be rented on iTunes (in HD for an extra two dollars, an offer I’m sorry to say I took advantage of), and yes, it can be watched. Having said all that, it is not a movie. It is a motion picture, yes, but it can’t be defined as a “movie” by the most liberal use of the word.
I knew it was going to be bad going into it. I was told about it by a friend, who tried to convince me I shouldn’t watch it. I ignored her advice, watching it with several other friends only yesterday. I was all set to come home and write a ridiculously sarcastic review: “Best movie ever! The plot had so many twists, the acting was top notch, and the special effects left my eyes spinning in their sockets. Screw Super 8 and the Harry Potter films; move over for Thankskilling! Rate: 11 out of 10!”
Yeah, I can’t do that. As I said earlier, my sarcasm has been shocked out of me by this adventure. So feel free to sit back and read my entire breakdown of it.
I’d say “spoiler alert”, but that would imply the existence of a solid plot.
So, we meet five college students, who all seem to fit perfectly into their stereotypes: A jock, a nerd, a redneck, a good girl, and a party girl. They all happen to be driving home from an unnamed college for Thanksgiving break, when their car suddenly breaks down in the middle of the road. Seeing as they just so happen to have sleeping bags and tents in their trunk, they decide to camp in the woods for the night. During the night, they realize these are the same woods in which, moments after the first Thanksgiving, a Native American put a curse on a turkey to attack any humans it saw. This turkey was supposed to rise 550 years later…which is apparently this night.
Now, I’m no mathematician, but seeing as the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 (which the film even acknowledges at the opening), this story either takes place in the year 2171—highly unlikely, given the quality of the props used—or the producers decided that being off by 164 years was an acceptable margin of error for the sake of the story.
Anyway. Seeing as I’ve just covered roughly the first half of the film, here are the things I noticed so far.
First of all, the acting is—to use my Calculus teacher’s favorite word—putrid. And I don’t mean it was bad on purpose. No, it was much like the movie itself…such a poor attempt that we’re not even really laughing at them anymore. We’re just shaking our heads and wondering where in the world this production crew dug up these teenagers.
Second of all: the script. Oh, Lord, the script.
Well, they definitely had one. This was painfully obvious as the actors attempted to deliver their lines with…well, pretty much getting them delivered felt like a victory to us. If you want to know how the dialogue was, picture an eight year old writing out what he thinks college students say to each other on a normal basis. Throw in a bit of cussing and tone down the intelligence by a few notches, and you’ve got the screenplay.
Third of all: the story had more holes in it than an old pair of crocs. Major ones so far include the car breaking down for no reason and then being perfectly fine the next morning, the kids randomly having tents in their trunk, and the fact that the killer Turkey can walk and talk (though I’m going to accept that one without question, as that pales in comparison to the plot holes of the rest of the film).
The second half is where it gets interesting.
Summary: the kids all go back to their homes. Meanwhile, the turkey stands on the side of the road until someone pulls over and gives him a ride (I swear, they act as if he was a human being), and after killing this person, the turkey pushes him aside and begins to drive.
Did you just read that correctly?
Yes. Yes, you did. The turkey begins to drive.
We’re never shown how, and I’m sure it’ll be a question that will haunt me almost as much as “Why in the name of God did the driver let the talking turkey in the car in the first place?”
Anyway. The turkey drives to each of the kids’ houses and begins killing them off. This is usually done with him using his wings, wielding a shotgun (another inexplicable feat), and in the most notable case, pecking off a man’s face and proceeding to wear it.
But wait, there’s more!
The kids all meet up at the house of the man whose face is now being worn, and when the turkey—who, keep in mind, is around two feet tall—answers the door, the kids all hug him and tell the “man” they’re glad he’s alright.
This is the point at which I declared this not a movie. Because in a motion picture like this, where the kids don’t realize turkey has killed a man until they see turkey actually standing over the body, is a motion picture not worthy of being called a movie.
The next event is equally unbelievable: one of the kids is walking home, sees a cartoon roasted turkey (identical to the kind eaten on Thanksgiving) and swallows it whole. Seconds later, his stomach is pecked open from the inside, and the killer turkey emerges.
Keep in mind, this turkey is around the size of a microwave.
Which is an excellent segue into describing the finale of the film: the remaining kids chase the turkey down, turkey is shot, and turkey lands in a dumpster of radioactive waste. The kids then walk home, make popcorn and watch a movie together—hours after all their friends and parents have been killed, mind you—and one of them remarks how in a way, they’re glad this happened because it brought them closer together emotionally.
Dude, almost everyone you know just got murdered.
No sooner has he said this than the turkey attacks them…and the turkey is glowing bright green.
Yep. Radioactive fowl on the loose.
After taking out everyone except one girl, said girl goes into a rage and throws the turkey into a pile of sticks that happen to be perfectly arranged in tipi bonfire form, and she throws a match that just so happens to ignite the pile within two seconds.
Wow, I wish I could start campfires that easily.
And then, as the turkey dies in the fire, a chicken leg—yes, a chicken leg—falls out, and the girl takes a bite.
A valuable devotion of my time and money, indeed.
Well, I’ll stick to my usual reviewing format, I suppose. What I liked about this film:
Eh…the turkey was punny, I suppose. At one point he kills someone with an ax, then remarks, “Oops. I had an ax-ident”, followed by a detailed explanation as to why that’s a play on words.
What I disliked:
But don’t change the channel yet. Because if you did enjoy this movie, you’ll be excited to know it’s the first in a trilogy.
I haven’t seen the other two, but here’s what I know for a fact: the second movie is essentially the same—well, plot, for lack of a worse term—except it takes place in space, and the turkey is part cyborg. In this one, he dies for good.
Which is why the third movie’s tagline is, and I quote, “The first horror movie to ignore its own sequel.” This third movie literally says that the second installment never existed, and here’s what really occurred after the first adventure.
I was expecting nothing less.
[Coach Carr voice]: Don’t watch this film. Because you will be brainwashed…and die. Don’t watch this with your friends, don’t watch it alone, don’t watch it with family…just, don’t do it, promise?
Seriously. If you’re that desperate for entertainment, find a turkey to actually peck out your eyes. It would hurt less and probably be a better use of your time, too.