Wicked Wednesday: Black Friday (2021)

Nothing hurts more than a wasted opportunity.

Okay, maybe some things hurt more. But it’s certainly a frustrating experience.

Earlier this year, I watched the 1989 slasher Intruder. I loved it. The setting was well utilised and the story was really engaging. I loved it. Horror films set in shops is a very niche subgenre that I am keen to track down more of. (A bit like my love for slashers set in shopping malls. It works!)

Unfortunately, Black Friday doesn’t really hit the same way. What should be a fun time in a toy shop filled with zombies is a pretty big slog – especially at only 84 minutes.

The workers at We Love Toys are preparing for another Black Friday, with the only thing getting them through it is the promise of a holiday bonus. Forced to come in on Thanksgiving itself, morale is low.

Things begin as usual, with the customers being feral assholes. When some customers start attacking and biting, it doesn’t register that something is more wrong than usual. It takes the death of one of the new starters for them to realise that they need help.

The survivors hole up in a stock room, hoping to figure out how to tackle the zombies on the shop floor. They need to learn to work together in a truly meaningful way to survive the night.

There’s actually a lot about this film that I’ve already forgotten, and I watched it two nights ago with my usual set of notes. I think that’s Black Friday‘s biggest death blow: it’s got a great cast (Devon Sawa, Bruce Campbell, Ivana Baquero) but doesn’t do much with them. We barely get any set up that over half of the movie is just running around. And frankly, I didn’t really care what happened to any of them.

I really like shows about workers. Superstore proves that a story set within a shop can be really engaging with good characters. Only a few minutes to set up some cliched tropes is just not enough for me, personally. The film also only has a half-baked storyline about the workers not being fairly treated. It could have gone so much further!

The movie not only squanders its cast but also its setting. A toy shop should be really fun. But the toys are barely utilised. The set is also really poorly dressed. It looks like a movie set version of a toy shop designed by someone who hasn’t been in one but is kind of guessing what they’re like.

That being said, there’s nothing truly terrible about this movie. But I think mediocrity is worse than anything. When Thanksgiving rolls around next year, I probably won’t remember to put this one on.

Anyway. Happy Thanksgiving. Happy Black Friday. Stay home with your family and don’t be a jerk to workers!


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