Director: Casey Tebo
Writer: Andy Greskoviak
Starring: Devon Sawa, Ivana Baquero, Ryan Lee, Stephen Peck, Michael Jai White, and Bruce Campbell
Black Friday is a horror/comedy about a parasite that infects the shoppers of We Love Toys on Black Friday (or Green Friday, as the company prefers to call it), the busiest shopping day of the year. The dwindling staff in store, led by their store manager Jonathan (Bruce Campbell, who also serves as producer), try to survive the night.
Black Friday is known as a day for savings by most and a day to dread for anyone working behind the counter, as the mass amounts of shoppers turn feral to find the best deal possible. That’s what this film captures perfectly. The sense of dread amongst the staff of the store as they wait for opening is tangible, they know it’s going to be a bad night, even before the customers turn into literal monsters.
The difference between the management who are only looking to maximise profits and the rest of the staff is brilliant. Bruce Campbell’s Jonathan hides away in his office, talking to people over the speakers, giving them bad news as their shifts are due to start. All he’s thinking of is the money, while the staff must work in the madness.
When things do kick off, it’s funny and ridiculous. Similar to George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Black Friday, takes the ideas of customers and turn them into monsters, which anyone who has worked in retail or hospitality can attest to. They swarm the place looking for deals, banging on the window before the store opens, fighting over items, and being rude to the staff. Before they start to mutate it’s hard to see who’s infected and who’s not.
Sadly, the joke does wear thin as the film progresses. Even though it’s only eighty minutes, by the time the ending comes around the humour has all but left the building and the credits can’t come soon enough. These aren’t characters that you care about, which isn’t knocking any of the performances. The cast are all great, and work well off each other. The first half is still funny and enjoyable, but this is something best watched with a group of friends on a movie night with pizza and drinks.
Black Friday is pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to be. It passes the time, does nothing spectacular and offers a few laughs along the way.
Signature Entertainment presents Black Friday on Digital Platforms 11th February
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