‘Thanksgiving,’ the Eli Roth holiday-horror film, immerses the viewers in a small town where a vicious slasher killer is cutting a swath through the population in a seemingly revenge-driven plot. On Thanksgiving, Right Mart’s Black Friday Sale goes out of hand and turns into a riot of greedy, careless customers. In the ensuing stampede, multiple people meet a gruesome end, blanketing the town in bleakness. Nevertheless, a year later, Plymouth, Massachusetts, is once again ready for the holiday, with the supermarket insisting on hosting another sale. However, things take an unexpected turn when a killer in a Pilgrim costume starts dropping bodies, targetting the people involved in last year’s riots.
As a result, the local police station, led by Sheriff Eric Newlon, find themselves with their hands full as they investigate the murders, attempting to track the killer down. Thus, Eric’s central orbit within the plot and his unfortunate presence at the Right Mart stampede compel the viewers to worry about the character’s chances of making it through this gory, slasher flick. SPOILERS AHEAD!
Sheriff Eric Newlon’s Storyline Takes an Unexpected Turn
During the Right Mart’s Black Friday Stampede, Eric Newlon happened to be at the supermarket coincidentally to visit his friend, Mitch Collins, the store manager. Soon, however, Eric’s presence serves a different purpose once the raging crowd outside the store floods inside, shattering the front door and bludgeoning the barebones staff and security to their deaths.
Almost as if blinded by a maddening haze, the customers turn into savages concerned only with shopping lists while entirely oblivious to the people falling to their deaths in the stampede. The terrifying scene comes to an end after Eric fires a warning shot into the ceiling, attracting the crowd’s attention. Nevertheless, a year after the incident, Right Mart refuses to learn its lesson. Therefore, despite public protests, Thomas Wright insists on holding his Black Friday Sale.
It’s around this same time that the killer first surfaces, targeting Lizzie, a waitress whose shopping cart clubbed Mitch’s wife, Amanda, to her death the previous year. Furthermore, through social media posts, the killer announces his ominous intentions toward Jess Wright and her friends. On the night of the stampede, Jess and her friends snuck into the store through the back door since the girl’s father owned the store.
Worse yet, Evan taunted the crowd outside through the glass windows, which fuelled the rage, instigating the riotous event. If the same wasn’t enough, Evan even filmed the stampede in poor taste and uploaded it online for a moment of fame. As such, Evan and the others realize the killer likely holds a particular vendetta against them for their past behavior when he starts tagging them on Instagram posts after each grueling death.
For the same reason, Eric Newlon is particularly vigilant about the kids, questioning and observing them accordingly. Nevertheless, Evan and his girlfriend, Gabby, end up getting kidnapped by the killer. Likewise, Yulia dies, leaving Jess and Scuba as the only standing targets. On the Thanksgiving parade day, the two teens decide to use themselves as bait to draw the killer out, allowing the cops time to catch him. Yet, their plan backfires, leading to their abduction alongside Thomas and his second wife, Katheleen.
While the victims undergo a horrifying experience, tied to a dinner table with Katheleen’s baked body as the central turkey, the cops attempt to locate them. In the end, Jess manages to escape, pursued by the killer until she shakes him off her tail and runs into an unconscious Eric. From there, things begin to ease up after Jess spots Bobby, her ex-boyfriend, who got hurt during the supermarket incident. Naturally, Jess and Eric come to the conclusion that Bobby is the killer.
However, once Eric brings the survivors, Jess, Abby, Scuba, and Thomas, to safety, things take a drastic turn. While alone with Eric, still reeling from her traumatic experiences, Jess realizes that the cop in front of her is the actual killer after spotting incriminating scruff on his shoes. As it would turn out, Eric was having an affair with Amanda, who had fallen pregnant with his child. The pair were about to break the news to Amanda’s husband and Eric’s friend, Mitch, before the stampede happened, killing Eric’s chance at happiness.
Thus, the cop, the man behind the killer’s John Carver mask, was exacting his revenge by killing everyone responsible for Amanda’s death. Yet, he wanted to reserve a special, long-winded death for Thomas, his daughter, and the troublesome kids. Since his plan ultimately fails, Eric attempts to come after Jess with brute force. Nevertheless, in the final showdown, Jess uses a musket to fire at a parade float and deliver a holiday-appropriate death to Eric by setting the warehouse on fire with him inside.
Afterward, the cops fail to find a body but work under the assumption that Eric likely burnt to a crisp within the building. As such, Jess still has nightmares about the man emerging from her burning closet, seeking out her death. For the same reason, it’s best to assume Eric’s fate is ambiguous for the time being. Although it’s likely that the man never survived the fire and met his end, there is always a possibility that a different reality about Eric’s death awaits the fans in the confirmed sequel.