Thanksgiving parents guide: Is the R-Rated slasher flick now on Netflix okay for kids?

This movie is grosser than the bones left over after your turkey dinner.

Thanksgiving One-Sheet - credit: Sony Pictures
Thanksgiving One-Sheet - credit: Sony Pictures /
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Way back in 2007, a movie came out called Grindhouse. It was basically two short movies, one from Quentin Tarantino; the other from Robert Rodriguez. And in the middle were a bunch of fake movie trailers, including a clear rip-off of Halloween by director Eli Roth titled Thanksgiving.

It was a joke, but it was a good one. And with fellow trailers Machete and Hobo with a Shotgun both getting full-length movies, it was only a matter of time before Thanksgiving became a reality. That all happened in 2023, when the full-length slasher flick hit theaters just in time for – you guessed it – Thanksgiving.

And now, the movie is on Netflix. Not only that, as of the time of this writing it’s trending number one on the streaming service, meaning the algorithm is definitely pushing it to your kids and families. But is Thanksgiving appropriate for kids?

A word about the plot, first, if you’re curious. Thanksgiving takes place in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a town you’d expect would be gaga for Turkey Day. And they are! That is until a mega-store left open early on Thanksgiving for Black Friday turns into a slaughterhouse when the doors bust down earlier than expected. A year later, someone in a pilgrim outfit is slowly eliminating those involved in horrific ways.

So will Thanksgiving be a delicious meal for the whole family? Or is this pie overbaked?

Thanksgiving (2023) Parents Guide: Explaining The R Rating

Let’s get this out of the way up front: The MPA rates Thanksgiving R for “strong bloody horror violence and gore, pervasive language and some sexual material.” So that seems like a pretty definitive “no” on that one. But let’s discuss anyway.

Sex & Nudity: The sexual material is mostly confined to one scene. A cheerleader lures her boyfriend to a remote area of the gym, where she proceeds to make him watch while she slowly strips off her underwear. She’s about to take off her top, too, when the killing begins. However, the butt nudity barely lasts a second, and is quickly eclipsed by the violence.

Violence: The violence in the movie is non-stop, horrifying, bloody, and graphic. I won’t detail everything that happens here, but Roth does not shy away from showing blood, guts and viscera. Spoilers past this point, but a woman gets her scalp ripped off at one point. Another woman peels her face off a freezer door, then gets cut in half. During a parade there’s decapitation, and then a man gets visibly rammed through the back of the head with part of a parade float. And a woman is cooked and sliced up like a turkey. There’s a whole lot more in here, and if you’re a horror fan the kills are plentiful, graphic, and creative. If you’re a parent with kids, they may have nightmares for the rest of their lives.

Language: Like the rating says, pervasive. Characters curse constantly throughout the movie. Nothing insanely creative here, but you hear most of George Carlin’s seven dirty words.

Drinking & Drugs: There’s a party with alcohol, though despite a lot of talk about how wild it will get, you don’t see many people drinking. Drugs-wise, some talk about adderall, but that’s pretty much it.

Overall Verdict: What Age Is Thanksgiving Appropriate For?

As usual, caveat that you know your kids. If they like slasher movies, they will like this. But the violence is pretty insane here, beyond even your regular Jason or Freddy kills. You see real fear on people’s faces, and Roth has an underlying theme about consumerism that might need to be pointed out to some less involved viewers. So our estimation? The R Rating is spot on here. 17 years of age and up should have no problem. And your horror head slightly younger kids might find a lot to enjoy too. But be warned: this movie is grosser than the bones left over after your turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

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