As the Black Friday shopping blitz is about to commence, a meteor shower depositing gelatinous alien goo pods across the globe, infecting people and turning them into alien zombie like creatures creates chaos for the employees at "We Love Toys", a big box super toy store (think Toys-R-Us).
Spoiler Level: Mild to Moderate
Sometimes a movie you didn’t even know existed surprises you by being wildly entertaining. Black Friday was one such movie. By the title, and the lack of publicity I was expecting a super low budget, terribly acted, badly directed horror film. What I got, was a clever, corny and fun horror comedy with some great actors. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t going to win any academy awards and I doubt it will become a cult classic, but it was a fun watch with some good laughs and a plot that harkens back to the classic holiday horror genre.
Devon Sawa plays Ken, a down on his luck divorced dad, who must work on Thanksgiving night at his low paying retail job at a big box toy store. He is joined by germaphobe Chris (Ryan Lee), nice girl Marnie (Ivana Baquero), tough guy Archie (Michael Jai White), assistant manager Brian (Stephen Peck) and slave driving store manager Jonathan (Bruce Campbell). All the characters have worked at the store for several years, and none of them are really happy about it, except Jonathan, who lives for his job. As they all gear up for the onslaught of angry and mean holiday shoppers, a meteor shower deposits gelatinous pods across the globe, which start infecting people and turning them into flesh eating alien zombie like creatures. What comes next is a wonderful mixture of comic horror chaos as the employees at “We Love Toys” (A Toys-R-Us style corporately owned super toy store) try to survive the night. Which is scarier, the alien invasion or the demanding customers? Watch and decide for yourself!
As I stated earlier, my expectations for this film was quite low, but from reading the cast names in the opening credits, I realized those expectations were wrong. What I got was a highly polished, well acted horror film. Sawa is perfect as Ken, an older man, trying to be the cool guy at work, but maybe trying a bit too hard. Sawa is having a bit of a horror renaissance of late–the Final Destination star is playing dual roles in SyFy Channel’s Chucky series. His love interest, Marnie, is half his age and doesn’t really see him as a boyfriend. They have great chemistry and witty banter. Michael Jai White, plays a wonderful Archie, an employee with some sort of military training, armed with a nail gun, who tries to guide his coworkers to safety. The surprise for me was Bruce Campbell, who plays a much less heroic character than he normally does. As the store manager, he is almost eviler than the aliens, who thinks only of profit and the power being the manager gives him over his minions. Each of the characters have their own comic moments, but it is tempered with a bit of sadness as they must examine the reality of their lives and what brought them to such a low point of working at a big box toy store on Thanksgiving.
The production value is okay with some of the special effects being noticeably bad, not SyFy channel, but just bad enough to not look real. It didn’t really detract from the movie. The script was well written with some nice dialogue, quirky comic banter, and the exposition never felt forced or out of place. There wasn’t much explanation given on the alien origins or what they actually wanted, but honestly, we didn’t need it for this movie. The storyline flowed well, and the movie had a good rhythm, but was a bit slow in places.
Overall, this was a fun film to watch over the Thanksgiving holiday, with some nice performances and great comic banter mixed with a good amount of horror, action and drama.
Black Friday: Clean-Up on Aisle AAAAAAAAAAHHHH!
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Acting - 9/109/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 7/107/10
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