‘Thanksgiving’ Ending Explained & Film Summary: Did Jessica And Bobby Escape?


Eli Roth’s Thanksgiving is an entertaining slasher horror that is as gory as it can get. The faith in the sub-genre is restored with the right balance of campy, gore, horror, and thriller. The acting is subpar, but the gore makes up for it. It all begins with a Black Friday sale that begins earlier than usual at a shopping mart in Plymouth. The consumers line up, and they get restless with every passing minute. A free waffle maker was the item of attraction, and the employees at the mart were under immense pressure to contain the crowd. With only two security guards, the situation was bound to slip out of control, and it does so when a bunch of privileged teenagers sneak into the mart and mock the waiting crowd.

Spoiler Alert

Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?

Thomas Wright, the owner of Right Mart, took pride in his fiancée, Kathleen’s, brilliant idea to start the Black Friday sale on Thursday itself. The free waffle maker did attract a huge crowd, and as they sipped on fine wine and turkey roast in their cozy home, the situation at the mart started to go out of control. Wright’s daughter, Jessica, did not approve of Kathleen, and she missed her mother now more than ever. Providing emotional support to Jessica was her boyfriend, Bobby, a baseball champion lovingly dubbed “Golden Arms” by his fans. Jessica and Bobby joined their friends to watch a film on Thanksgiving. On their way to the movie hall, Evan announced that he needed a new phone, and what better place could there be than Right Mart? While the crowd waited for the store to open, the group casually entered through the back door. People in the crowd refused to calm down when they saw the teenagers get access to all the products. The situation kept getting worse, and it became impossible to control the crowd. Out of the two security guards, one ran off out of fear, while the other died doing his job.

The crowd pushed the barricades and banged on the glass doors. It eventually led to a crack, and the crowd forced their way into the store. People were out for blood; they were ready to do anything for the discounts and freebies. Many lost their lives in the stampede, and yet the others continued shopping. Employee Mitch Collins found his wife, Amanda, lying on the floor with her scalp cut open. The security guy, Dough, died as a result of multiple wounds. Bobby’s arm got twisted, and he had to take a break from his baseball career. The video of the night continued to circulate online, even after a year. Evan had filmed the whole madness in the hopes of gaining followers. Bobby and Jessica broke up after the incident. A year later, the Black Friday Sale at Right Mart was back, to everyone’s surprise. Wright tried to justify himself with his charity work, but it was evident that the man did not care about the lives lost, and all he wanted was to make a profit. The employees blamed Wright for not hiring enough security even after knowing the risks, but since the surveillance footage was unavailable, no action was taken against Wright. Another year, another sale, but this time, there is a masked man determined to seek revenge, and he uses John Carver’s (the first governor of Plymouth) mask to keep his identity hidden.

What happened after a year of the tragedy?

A year later, a masked man was out for revenge, and his first victim was the server at a deli, Lizzie. She was one of the first consumers who broke into the store, and she grabbed whatever she could, even though people around her were in dire need of help. She was also responsible for the death of Amanda Collins. When Lizzie was about to leave the restaurant at night, she was brutally murdered, and her decapitated body was publicly displayed at Right Mart. But despite the chilling murder, Thomas Wright decided to continue with the Black Friday sale. The killer created a social media account by the name of John Carver, and he uploaded a picture tagging Jessica and her friends. The picture suggested that he had set the table for Thanksgiving dinner and was waiting for the tagged people to join him. The killer’s next target was the security man who abandoned his post that night. The killer uploaded another picture of the table with the heads of his two victims on it. Jessica was absolutely paranoid once the killings began, and she decided to take a look at the surveillance footage her father kept hidden from the world. And Bobby agreed to help her.

After a year of staying away from the public eye, Bobby returned to town, and he reconnected with Jessica. She did not expect to find suspicious video footage of her boyfriend, Ryan. Even though he denied knowing anyone at the mart, as it turned out, Ryan shared a good relationship with Dough, the security guard. When Bobby and Jessica confronted him about it, he explained that he was simply friendly with the guy because he was supplying them with Adderall. While Ryan seemed to be out of the loop, people doubt Bobby since the killings began after his return. The killer eventually got hold of Evan and Gaby, but Jessica managed to escape from the madman.

Who was the killer?

Investigating the serial killer case was Sheriff Eric Newlon, and at the end of Thanksgiving, we find out that he was the killer. Eric was in love with Amanda, and the two intended to get together once she divorced Mitch, but before that could happen, she was killed in the stampede. He could not get over the loss, and he decided to seek revenge on those primarily responsible for her death. He blamed the teenage group for instigating the crowd after entering the store through the back door. Eric had a motive, but he was also demented enough to execute the most gory murders.

One of the most iconic scenes in Thanksgiving is getting the human roast ready. Since Kathleen had come up with the idea of an advanced sale day, Eric wanted her death to be unique. After knocking her unconscious, he prepped her body for the roast. After waking up, Kathleen was able to exit the house, but Eric attacked her with a garden fork. She was brought back into the house and stuffed in the oven. Eric served her as a Thanksgiving treat to Thomas Wright, Jessica, Evan, Scuba, and Gaby. He murdered Evan on livestream, stating that his death would make him famous. Everyone at the table had lost hope, but thanks to McCarty, Jessica had a ring with a knife hidden in it, and using it, she freed herself and helped Scuba do the same. Scuba was injured while trying to stop the killer, and Jessica found her way out of the house. By then, Jessica was not yet aware of who the killer was since Eric had been wearing a mask all along. By the time she found her way to the main road, the sheriff was lying on the street injured, and she noticed Bobby enter a warehouse. Jessica watched Bobby remove the John Carver mask. She was confident that he was the killer, and Eric convincingly dropped the phone that he used to log into the John Carver account to blame it all on Bobby. But in the end, the truth finally comes to light.

How did Jessica and Bobby escape?

Eric consoled Jessica after it was assumed that Bobby was the killer. She asked the sheriff to allow her some time alone before she headed back home. We can conclude that Jessica found it hard to believe that Bobby was the murderer, and that was why she stole the phone collected as evidence. When the sheriff returned, she noticed that his shoes and pants were dirty, and she realized that they both had been at the same place, which implied that he was the killer. Eric gave up on the pretense and exclaimed how he wished Jessica had been stuck to the fence a little longer. We find out that Eric had set a trap for Bobby and had drugged him to play the role of the killer, but unexpectedly, Bobby hit Eric with a tire iron and escaped. It is a little far-fetched considering how, in very little time, Eric had to play the sheriff, then the killer, and also kidnap Bobby to blame him for the killings.

During Thanksgiving‘s ending, Eric confesses the whole truth, and we find out that Amanda was pregnant with their child, and her death destroyed all his dreams of starting a family. Jessica live-streamed the confession using the evidence phone. Eric attacked Jessica, but Bobby came to her rescue. He had been hiding at the warehouse, waiting for the perfect time to strike. Jessica and Bobby managed to hop on the tow truck left in the warehouse. Just as they were about to escape, Eric attacked them with his axe. Bobby drove fast enough to get rid of the threat, but they did not expect Eric to tie the wire from the truck to a column. That was when Jessica decided to get over her fear of black powder guns, and she aimed one at the balloon filled with flammable gas. The explosion was said to have killed Eric, but his body was not found as a result of the impact. From the look of it, it is unlikely that he survived. Even though life returned to normalcy, Jessica struggled to get over her fear of confronting the masked killer again. Jessica survived, but she was cursed to always live with fear in her heart.

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Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni Rudra
Srijoni has worked as a film researcher on a government-sponsored project and is currently employed as a film studies teacher at a private institute. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Film Studies. Film History and feminist reading of cinema are her areas of interest.

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