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Samantha Kolesnik’s horror short Friendsgiving is the perfect appetizer to any Thanksgiving gathering. A horror fan’s gathering, that is.

FriendsgivingDirected by Samantha Kolesnik and co-written with Sean Richard Budde, Friendsgiving is a bite sized look into what Rita’s new neighbors are really up to when they come together for the holiday.

Friendsgiving is a great example of what can happen when great minds collaborate.

The performances from the cast weren’t lackluster and didn’t scream amateur. Regardless of a production’s budget, the performers need to take it seriously, and these folks obviously did.

Another element that didn’t jump out for the wrong reasons was the set design. It wasn’t plastered with tacky turkey drawings or faux cornucopias that should have been thrown away years ago; it was a subtle set with hints of autumnal colors and appropriate dinnerware for a holiday occasion, thanks to production designer Emily Chomuik.

The production was also fully aware of its limitations and didn’t push its luck with practical effects. The gore was subtle and budget conscious but not garish in the slightest.

The story itself was predictable, and it took the gas out of the conclusion. Finding a new angle with this type of theme is tough, but I would have enjoyed being blindsided, or at least lead off the trail for a moment.

The runtime limited what could have flourished. But there was a sensical, albeit worn, story here. Both writers’ previous works have proven their chops, so this short felt more like a fun recess rather than a passion project.

There’s a dire shortage of Thanksgiving themed horror in the film circuit and thanks to Kolesnik, there’s a new addition worth watching for some morbid cheer.

Friendsgiving recently played at Jim Thorpe Independent Film Festival, where it was nominated for Best Horror and for Best Grindhouse. The short stars Kelsey Andrae, Kaylor Otwell, Frank Pontillo, Nathan Ludwig, Alastair Wharton, Sami Griffith, and Eddie Gutierrez. Production design was by Emily Chomuik, with the score provided by Landon Knoblock and Henrik A. Meyer serving as Director of Photography.

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