Black Friday Movie Review: Needed More Bruce Being Bruce

It’s Thanksgiving night and the store associates at We Love Toys are getting ready for the annual Black Friday sale. A large crowd is gathering outside the doors waiting to be the first ones in in order to snap up the holiday discounts. But they aren’t the only ones looking to get into the store. An unusual meteorite shower occurs across the city spreading something organic wherever the meteors land. And in that organic material is a parasite that enters a host body causing it to mutate and go into a murderous frenzy.

While the workers inside the toy store are bracing themselves for the annual shopping chaos, they have no idea that some of the customers about to burst through the doors are already infected. Once the shopping begins, so does the carnage, leaving the workers fighting for their lives.

The story revolves around the jaded and immature Ken (Devon Sawa), who is a seasoned veteran at the store, and Chris (Ryan Lee), who is fairly new and still has the youthful exuberance of working in a place he has loved since childhood. The two of them will need to work together to stop the creatures and save whatever co-workers they can.

Black Friday has a very simple premise. Zombie-like creatures killing and eating people in the store while those not infected fight to stay alive. The film gets right into the action from the opening moments. It’s not until halfway through the film when the group has a few minutes to gather themselves and explain what drew them to the store that you realize you have no idea who any of these characters are. Even during the argument between Ken and Chris, there is so much being said that it leaves you wanting more exposition at the beginning so you would understand their relationship better.

Overall, the film felt very basic. And even though the dialogue wasn’t very intricate, it felt realistic, like how real people would speak in that given situation. Even the acting itself felt toned down. That worked better than I would have thought, except for the fact that Bruce Campbell portrayed the store manager Jonathan, who was more obsessed with making sales and towing the corporate line then he was about the chaos ensuing around him. Campbell is known for over-the-top acting roles, and it would have been nice if the director had turned him loose. Let Bruce be Bruce and do his thing.  At the end there was a glimpse of the actor, but by then it was too little too late.

While Black Friday wasn’t the greatest film ever made, it was exactly the type of movie you’d expect of a B-rated flick involving zombies and alien parasites. If you are into this genre, you won’t be disappointed but at the same time you won’t be overly excited by it. It sits in the middle of the pack and missed out being as fun as it could have been when using this premise.

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Todd Karella

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