ThanksKilling (2009)
By: Sam Bowron on July 18, 2012  | 
DVD
MVD Visual (USA) | All Regions, NTSC | 1.78:1 (16:9 enhanced) | English DD 2.0 | 66 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Credits
Director: Jordan Downey
Starring: Lindsey Anderson, Lance Predmore, Ryan E. Francis, Aaron Ringhiser-Carlson
Screenplay: Jordan Downey, Kevin Stewart
Country: USA
External Links
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It goes without saying there's a distinct difference between a good bad movie and a movie that is just plain bad. When someone sets out to make a purposefully awful fright flick, odds are they will fail miserably (i.e., Snakes on a Plane, Mega Piranha, Shark Night 3D, etc), more often than not forgetting that part of what makes an endearingly atrocious film is the oblivious disposition of its creators to the dreadfulness of their own efforts. In essence, you can never catch lightening in a bottle twice, much less forcefully attempt to infiltrate the heavens and milk them of their cinematic gemstones.

Ohio filmmaker Jordan Downey and his no-budget crew have taken the "let's make a movie so bad it's good!" mantra with their indie debut Thankskilling , a film about a killer turkey carving up hapless college students on said sacred holiday. At only 66 minutes you'd think the film would be a breezy, no-brainer romp enjoyed over a sizzling pizza and a cold case of beer. Only problem is, it's the longest, coma-inducing hour of boredom you're likely to endure this side of the festive bird season.

The movie opens with a busty topless pilgrim being attacked and killed by a mutant turkey. Fast forward a hundred years or so to a bunch of college kids gearing up for a weekend away camping in the woods, lead by starring quarterback Johnny (Lance Predmore), slutty girlfriend Ali (Natasha Cordova), naïve virgin Kristen (Lindsey Anderson), stoner redneck Billy (Aaron Ringhiser-Carlson) and hanger-on nerd Darren (Ryan E. Francis). These boisterous young folks waste no time screwing around in the wilderness and before they know it they're face to beak with a murderous turkey, hell-bent on avenging native American injustice at the hands of the white man… or something like that.

Whether you're a fan of these kinds of films or not, one should arguably never come down too hard on a movie titled Thankskilling. After all, what more would one expect? To argue any other way would be an exercise in futility, however there is an important note to take into consideration when describing the intentions of this particular film. Director Downey and co deliberately set about to make a bad movie and to this ambition they have succeeded perfectly. Ironically though that's where it ends, as this is precisely why the film is an unequivocal waste of your time.

Almost nothing about Thankskilling is entertaining, and I'm not playing devil's advocate. The screenplay is lazy and bereft of inspiration, the characters are enormously irritating, the FX work barely reaches the standards of a grade school production - even the damn rubber turkey looks bored shitless. One may argue "but isn't that the whole point?" and the answer would be yes, it is. However, next comes the question: from what then does the audience derive their gratification? In other words, how does intentionally setting out to make something awful result in genuine entertainment? This fundamental problem is the entire conceit of the film and the result is so predictable that nothing presented on screen ever actually amuses.

The really sad thing about this whole misfire is that fans of bad movies are almost guaranteed to be disappointed. Like any art form, bad films cannot be premeditated; they need to organically grow from a collective belief on behalf of the filmmakers that they're making something good. It's the enjoyment of their failure that makes such films so enjoyable to watch. Thankskilling isn't charming at all, in fact it's downright masochistic in its plight. Perhaps Downey and co. could learn a thing or two from Plan 9 From Outer Space, Showgirls, Birdemic or even the glorious Troll 2 (the best bad movie of all time in my opinion) and maybe do things differently with their upcoming space-set sequel.

One can only hope.
Video
Shot on an extremely low budget with HD cameras, Thankskilling looks surprisingly good. Given it's camcorder quality, the result is more home video-esque than filmic but it does fare a little better than most other backyard efforts transferred to disc. The 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen is plentiful in the contrast department and remains quite stable throughout. Solid.
Audio
The most notable aspect on an otherwise competent soundtrack mix is the films' theme song. If you have a 5.1 configuration this disc is sure to pound the speakers nicely, offering up a well-tuned combination. A stereo track is also included, however definitely not on par with the surround mix.
Extra Features
The most worthwhile supplement here is the audio commentary with director Downey and co-writer Kevin Stewart. Good natured and easily digestible, the duo give a good insight into their student film opus, albeit over praisingly, and confess their intentions for making the film in the light they did. There is also a pretty defunct blooper reel and some fan-made extras, including photographs and a song. Eat your heart out!
The Verdict
Ed Wood, Paul W.S Anderson, Uwe Boll and other B-movie munsters make films because they arguably believe their work is good. Watching a group of college guys not even bother to try to produce something interesting makes an already boring movie that much more pathetic.
Movie Score
Disc Score
Overall Score

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