“Thanksgiving” is set in the town of Plymouth, Massachusetts, beginning with the events of Thanksgiving 2022. A POV shot of a suburban home coupled with the sound of heavy breathing immediately evokes the iconic opening of John Carpenter’s “Halloween,” and it seems that we’re seeing the point of view of the killer — but then it turns out to be friendly old Sheriff Newlon (Patrick Dempsey) bringing a freshly made pie to the home of Mitch (Ty Olsson) and his wife (Gina Gershon), who Newlon clearly has a crush on.
The Thanksgiving dinner is interrupted, however, by the news that Mitch has to go into work at the local big box store called Right Mart, where he’s a manager. Seems that Right Mart’s well-to-do owner, Thomas Wright (Rick Hoffman), has decided to begin his store’s Black Friday Doorbuster sales on Thanksgiving night at the behest of his new trophy wife, Kathleen (Karen Cliche). At the Wright’s holiday dinner, Thomas’ teenage daughter, Jess (Nell Verlaque), and her baseball pitcher jock boyfriend, Bobby (Jalen Thomas Brooks), decide to sneak away and go to the movies with their friends: Scuba (Gabriel Davenport), Yulia (Jenna Warren), Gabby (Addison Rae), and Evan (Tomaso Sanelli).
On the way there, Evan insists on stopping at the Right Mart to pick up a few items, using his friendship with Jess to get into the store before it officially opens. The crowd waiting outside to get their deals and their free waffle iron (free to the first 50 customers only, of course) sees the kids get inside and begin to get violently angry. One football player from a rival school (Mika Amonsen) and a local waitress, Lizzie (Amanda Barker), lead the charge to storm the store, and despite the efforts of Mitch, Jess, and Sheriff Newlon, the mob cannot be quelled. Several people are killed in the ensuing riot, including and especially Mitch’s wife, who was just trying to bring her husband some of his Thanksgiving turkey.