Black Friday Movie Review
Written by Janine Pipe
Released by Screen Media Films
Directed by Casey Tebo
Written by Andy Greskoviak
2021, 84 minutes, Not Rated
Released on November 19th, 2021
Devon Sawa as Ken
Bruce Campbell as Jonathan
Ivana Baquero as Marnie
Ryan Lee as Chris
Michael Jai White as Archie
Stephen A. Peck as Brian
Ellen Colton as Ruth
I’ll admit that I was excited as soon as I saw the press release for Black Friday. The word ‘comedy’ leapt out from the page along with starring Devon Sawa, whom I have followed since Final Destination, and Bruce Campbell, who is well just a legend, amirite?
Right from the opening scene, before the credits even, you know this film is going to hit the sweet spot for effects, humour and just a bit of ew.
Even the font used on the credits is cool.
This movie in a nutshell is a comedy sci-fi/horror set in a toy store on Black Friday with a ton of either conscious or subconscious nods to movies of a similar vein of the ‘80s. I got hints of Fright Night and Ghostbusters among others, Chucky is even playing on the TV set in the breakroom, which is an awesome meta nod to Devon, who stars in the new TV series.
I like all of the characters. Each has flaws and things that make them human and relatable, and since it is a comedy, there are some great one-liners too. Whilst I wasn’t splitting my sides from laughter like with Psycho Goreman, there are some actually funny moments, and when you mix comedy with gore, you have a winner.
Something that makes a story, whether written or visual, more appealing is having a heart, and there are some genuine moments of self-discovery and ‘aw!’, which just adds to the depth of the characters. However, this isn’t a rom-com, so those who come for the action will be happy too.
And as for characters, The Big Boss Man, Jonathan, played by the almighty Bruce Campbell, is a total asshat and played the part brilliantly. He is a corporate-quoting douche who just wants his store to reopen at first, after being forced to close on the busiest night of sales due to a whacked-out customer who just may have been making friends with ET. However, he has a chance of redemption and gets an ‘Ash’ moment that will keep his super fans appeased. I was there for his moustache, bowtie and cardigan – nice work, costume department.
Ken (Devon Sawa) is an absent father who wishes he was with his kids instead of working, and gets through shifts with hard liquor and skateboarding. He thinks he’s still the high school cool guy.
We have Marnie (Ivana Baquero), a very cool character who ain’t no damsel in distress and if I was in that store, I would have stuck with her for sure. Brilliantly cast.
Chris (Ryan Lee) is a germaphobe working in a toy store…thank god for anti-bac, right? There is one scene where he is called to clean up some puke. Classic.
*Side-note – I didn’t see the full casting before watching and spent the entire screening knowing I recognized Chris and not being able to place him. He was of course Champ in Goosebumps!
Archie (Michael Jai White) is brilliant with the nail-gun and makes an amazing action hero.
Brian (Stephen A. Peck), another completely unlikable but amusing character. They are super funny with their ass-kissing and total dislike and disregard for Chris. And their facial expressions are on-point.
And we can’t forget Ruth (Ellen Colton), an older lady employee who has a couple of killer one-liners.
There are a couple of jump-scares and some great gore moments, but in the main this movie is about the characters and their reaction to getting trapped in a toy store with some questionable customers. I will give a round of applause to the SFX people, as the creatures are fantastic – especially on a COVID-compliant set and minimal budget – again, there are Fright Night vibes going on. You know that scene in the original where the girl reveals herself to Charlie and she has almost a jaws mouth? Yeah, keep that in mind and you’ll see what I mean.
All in all Black Friday will make an entertaining addition to your holiday viewing and is well worth the watch.
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