On the eve of Black Friday, a group of toy store employees begin preparing for the onslaught of holiday shoppers. Not long after opening the doors, the employees find themselves fighting for their lives from parasitic, zombie shoppers.
It is very apparent the purpose director Casey Tebo and writer Andy Greskoviak have for this film and ultimately, it fits like a glove. Unsurprisingly, pairing the horror-comedy genre with one of the most chaotic shopping days of the year (in the U.S. at least) writes itself. Tebo and Greskoviak had an almost unlimited amount of source material to play with and most stuck their landing. When the tropes, jokes, and themes did work, this film shone the brightest because there’s a strange joy seeing enraged shoppers frothing at the mouth for a “deal” and they aren’t even in their parasitic zombie state. That was the best part of this film – playing with the “myths” we’ve created around Black Friday and spinning them into a ridiculous zombie film.
Outside of this though, when the film tries to be a bit more serious and focus on the characters as characters, is where I found myself caring just a little bit less. The writing for these scenes is choppy, dull, and will make your eyes roll more than once. Naturally, you could let some of this slide because of the nature of the film. The characters are supposed to be over the top and, for the most part, unlikable. However, when you have other horror comedies like Shaun of the Dead or Werewolves Within that play with their respective source materials and keep the more serious notes believable and non-cringe, it’s hard to overlook these parts of Black Friday.
I would be doing this film a disservice too without at least mentioning the makeup and effects departments as the creature makeup and effects throughout the film were phenomenal. They really paid homage to films like Pumpkinhead and The Blob and it was the other aspect of this film that really worked.
Ultimately, Black Friday isn’t a groundbreaking film by any means but it is a good one. Playing with the cultural zeitgeist surrounding Black Friday is fun to watch as this film descends into complete madness over time. Excellent makeup and effect round out the positives and help to lessen the blow that some of the writing has. If you like the films mentioned above or are looking for a new Black Friday tradition, check this one out.
Reviewed November 22, 2021 (screener provided by publicist). Rating: TBC. Running time: 84 min.
PRODUCTION: A Screen Media Films and Highland Film Group release of a MFW Productions and The Warner Davis Company production. Producers: Warner Davis. Line Producer: Elliott Barker.
CREW: Director: Casey Tebo. Writing: Andy Greskoviak. Editing: Chris Tonick. Cinematography: David Kruta. Music: Patrick Stump.
CAST: Devon Sawa, Ivana Baquero, Ryan Lee, Stephen Peck, Michael Jai White, Bruce Campbell, Louie Kurtzman, Celeste Olivia, Ellen Colton, Peg Holzemer, and Mark Steger.