- Teleplay by Noah Feinberg, Marcus Dunstan, and Patrick Melton
- Story by Noah Feinberg
- Directed by Marcus Dunstan
- November 1, 2019
- Cody-Reign Edwards
- Shane-Kerr Smith
- Anna-Courtney Henggeler
- Tate-Antonio Raul Corbo
- Diane-Tessa Goss
- Gina-Dana L. Wilson
- Cody’s Mom-Kathryn Taylor Smith
- Katherine-Beth Curry
- Finn-Taj Speights
- Ethan-Peter Giles
- Patience-Elyse Levesque
- Big Pilgrim-David Mattey
- Lady Pilgrim-Perry Smith
- Elder Pilgrim-Charles Currier
- Ginger Pilgrim-Ken Dickason
Things go horribly wrong when a mother hires a group of reenactors to bring her family closer on Thanksgiving.
I had heard about Pilgrim on Facebook a while ago but never gave it too much thought until realizing it was on Hulu and being Thanksgiving decided to give it a look. Diving a little deeper I learned that this film is actually part of a series of feature length films that are part of a horror series focusing on holidays.
The thrust of the story is that these people do not appreciate what they have in their lives. They’re either just ungrateful or worried and thinking about what they don’t have. They have lost focus on what Thanksgiving is about and fail to find happiness in the bounty they have in their daily lives.
Interestingly while this is a gorefest with some good blood and guts, it’s not about a bunch of random killers who just pick some unfortunate group of people and decide to slaughter them. The point really is to make these people appreciate what they have even if how they do it is an insane way to accomplish the goal.
While entertaining, Pilgrim looks like it wants to be a horror comedy but from my perspective there is not that much dark humor in it. There’s nothing that could even be CONSTRUED as a dark joke even if you don’t find it funny. Unless you find reenactors comical in occasionally overperforming you will not see where a joke might be. I get this impression from the acting and the directing as well as the end credits.
I expected the family here (never given a last name) to be rather unlikable and ridiculously disconnected but they really aren’t in comparison to reality. Other than the daughter Cody (Reign Edwards) who is significantly adversarial to her stepmother Anna (Courtney Henggeler). Nothing is excessive and in fact given the short segment this movie opens with you can somewhat see why this child would do everything in her power to keep her stepmother at arm’s length.
What helps to make this movie truly effective is that much of it occurs within the tight confines of the family’s house. Aside from a few moments elsewhere, the main action takes in a handful of rooms and next to the family pool. The family gets trapped and they have to survive. With so little space to run the viewer becomes as unsettled as the characters.
And for being on the cheaper side and all it’s actually surprisingly well done. They do not reach beyond their limitations. They work to make the most of what they can do rather do a half-assed version of what they wish they could do. Pilgrim is a little over 80 minutes so there isn’t much in the way of story. It just sets things up and gets into the action. They don’t waste time with pontification or too much extraneous crap.
The elements of the story as well as the resolution are introduced early enough yet not obvious at all. In hindsight you can’t believe you missed that it was important but at the time it’s just an element of the story.
This is much less a frightening horror film and much more of an entertaining slasher film. And it gets that way by the good graces of a talented cast. The main villain of Ethan (Peter Giles) in particular is creepy and just evil. He channels that fake friendly that is unnerving on film as well in real life.
Pilgrim certainly will not get you in the holiday mood but you will enjoy it. There are some interesting kills and a nice premise that is more often than not done well. You may even want to go back to this again. For the general moviegoer this is something they can skip but for fans of horror who might wanna enjoy something for the holidays this is something they should check out!