Updated: Jan 19
For this Thanksgiving holiday I decided to rewatch a movie that takes place over Thanksgiving break at a college, Kristy (2014), rather than a Thanksgiving themed movie. Directed by Oliver Blackburn and starring Haley Bennet as the main character and Ashely Greene as the main antagonist, this movie is definitely worth the watch. Kristy focuses on a college girl who stays on campus over Thanksgiving break and then is hunted down by a group of cult members targeting what they consider “Kristy” like women.
The movie opens to a beaten up car in the forest with a hooded figure sitting inside of it. We flash to someone in a clearing taking photos with their phone of something on the ground. Quickly it is revealed that the dead body of a woman is on the ground with the letter ‘K’ carved into her cheek. Following this there is a montage of what looks like a forum with videos and postings about killing women that are considered to be Kristys which we learn from a voiceover. First and foremost we need to address what a “Kristy” is and why it pisses this group so much. A Kristy is a well liked, privileged, and pretty girl who believes in God and this group believes that by killing Kristy that you are killing God.
The first portion of the movie after we establish that there is a murderous group and who they intend to murder is establishing who our main character, Justine, is and what makes her fit the criteria for being Kristy. Justine has a boyfriend, Aaron, who loves her, has friends, is athletic, and studious. She also seems to know just about every worker she encounters on campus. Not only that but she works part time for work study because she is on an academic scholarship and seems close with her family based on a phone conversation we see between her and her mom about her not coming home for Thanksgiving. It’s established that she’ll be staying on campus due to the outrageous cost of airfare. She won’t be alone though because her roommate, Nicole, is also staying behind.
There’s a sweet scene of her saying goodbye to her boyfriend where he makes some last ditch attempts to convince her to come home with him over the break. After repeatedly declining he makes a recording of him telling her he loves her and he’s off. Flash forward to Nicole bailing because her family is going to Aspen and she doesn’t want to miss out on it. Nicole also tries to get Justine to come with her for the break but again Justine declines. With Nicole gone she’s on her own with the nice dorm security guard for the break.
After spending the day in a well filmed montage swimming, dancing, and making the best of her time alone on campus she decides to take her friend's car and go to the store for some snacks. She is kind enough to ask the security guard if he wants anything and this alone makes me like her and also know that the security guard will unfortunately be killed before the film is over. At the store she sees a hooded girl acting really strange who she has an odd interaction with. It’s really odd to think but our girl Alice from the Twilight movie series is this hooded girl with piercings, crusty lips, washed out skin, dark sunglasses, greasy hair, and a hood. This strange woman tells Justine she likes her car and then attempts to touch her hair while saying that she’s pretty. Obviously, as most of us would, Justine backs up and swerves that girl hard. This offends the weirdo and Justine is off to checkout. The girl comes and wants to buy the glasses and gets into a tiff with the cashier about a discount. Justine, uncomfortable like any of us would be, offers to pay to end this interaction which further offends the woman who slams a twenty down on the counter and leaves.
Justine exits the mini mart and is faced head on with the headlights of the rundown car from the beginning of the movie, yikes. The car peels out of there and Justine gets in her friend’s car to leave. She ends up in a road incident with said broken down car but manages to make it back to her campus and then dorm. She lets the security guard know this and he says he’ll check it out. It is important to note that this campus is fairly secure for a college campus and you must have a reason for being on said campus if you want to make it past the gate. My own college campus is in a city and this notion is so bizarre to me but it is a major plot device. Being that this campus is seemingly in the middle of nowhere the electricity, that is being upgraded over break, starts to go on the fritz along with the WiFi. This freaks Justine out when the movie she’s streaming cuts to a failed internet screen. For some reason Justine’s reaction is to bang on the window during the storm to try to get the attention of the security guard making the rounds outside. For what reason I have no clue. Behind her the door opens and the hooded woman is there in her dorm room.
They exchange some words and Justine manages to get out and get downstairs hiding from the group behind the security desk after finding none of the phones work. She hears the security guard by the door trying to get in and she tries to warn him about the killers only for him to be killed. The group convenes and lets Justine know that the hunt for her has begun. The next big chunk of the movie is Justine either hiding from them, or running away from them. Notable moments include Justine finding the dead front gate security guard, getting to the groundskeeper house, getting him and his dog killed, and even jumping off of the library roof. Regarding Justine as a character I think she’s extremely smart and resourceful but to further the plot and keep the final battle from happening too quickly they have her character do some dumb things. This woman never locks a door behind her, sits down rather than tries to find any weapons in the first half, lets the dog run right out the door, and when she makes it to the road after jumping off the roof she goes back onto campus to try and save her boyfriend rather than get help. She also shouldn’t have survived enough to be able to run around after jumping off of the roof but that’s neither here nor there.
In a rather lackluster scene the group kills Aaron in front of Justine which is partially his fault for not listening to her and running to her while she screamed at him. This causes Justine to strangely say ‘no’ to them a couple times and then run to Aaron’s car which he’s left running. She’s not quick enough however and one of the group members jumps on the hood of the car. He tries smashing into the windshield to stop her but she rams him into a wall, killing him. This clearly intensifies things and Justine manages to get away to the athletic center. She hides and empties Aaron’s backpack she’s taken from his crashed vehicle and finds the recorder. In a clever move she uses the pool as a hiding place, holding her breath underwater while one of the group members searches this area. When he has almost given up he discovers the contents of the backpack and knows she’s near so begins searching again. Justine has been army crawling through the bleachers and has placed a hose into the water. This draws the killer’s attention and she then bum rushes him into the pool. They face off underwater and she ends up cracking his neck with his bat.
Justine then goes Home Alone on these assholes, killing the next one in the showers by luring him into a stall with a recording of her whimpering. She unmasks him and takes his phone, becoming shocked that she finds the website from the beginning of the movie. This website reveals that this isn’t the only group of killers but just one of many targeting Kristys across the country. She pretends to be one of the group members and responds that Kristy has been killed and is on the way to meet up with the other group members. She ends up confronting the girl from the gas station who seems to be the ringleader and sets this bitch on fire. The movie ends with Justine’s voiceover saying she’s no longer Justine but is now Kristy.
Granted I know it’s not Thanksgiving themed or focused but it does fit the criteria for being around Thanksgiving. This movie has great camera work, good acting, and is well paced. I am still sad the dog died and didn’t even want to go into that part of the movie. All of the plot holes about how she got away or how they found her made sense to continue the plot of the movie so they’re rather easy to look past. If Thanksgiving isn’t your thing but you still want some holiday-ish focused horror then I highly recommend Kristy (2014).
Recommended Score: 7/10