Directed and co-written by Marcus Dunstan (The Collector, Feast), in partnership with writer Noah Feinberg, Pilgrim is a sleek, modern horror film set during everybody’s 2nd favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.
Acting as Hulu’s ‘Into the Dark’ horror series’ November episode, the female led story revolves around Cody (Reign Edwards) and her strained familial relationships during the one time of year when you’re forced to look at what you take for granted. Home from college, spoiled Cody is forced to play nice with her stepmother Anna, a woman who wholly believes appearances are everything and tries to exhaustively maintain them. Her husband (Kerr Smith) is too preoccupied with work and technology to argue with Anna when she decides to hire authentic pilgrim re-enactors into their home to “bring them closer together.” Cody is the only one who begins to notice just how far into character the actors get and how intense their performances are becoming until it’s too late to break their characters– or ask them to leave.
The premise is so simple and to the point and absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving. The idea of hiring an “experience” for your family is such a modern idea of family fun and hipness, almost to the point of gross accuracy, that it sells the possibility of something going wrong right away because of that believably. On content, there’s an apt amount of violence, mostly off-screen. The real spine tingler in the film is the ever-present feeling of threat and not knowing who’s radiating it. Things get a little crazy towards the end like any proper holiday gathering should. Our villains are so straight laced and straight faced that it makes the ride that more intense. The performances are done earnestly, not achingly, and it feels like you’re watching an actual family unravel. My only grievance (growing annoyance?) were the action sequences dubbed over with music. It was effective once, maybe twice but grew stale beyond that. Besides that one bleep, it had a trimmed run time, something of an accomplishment with the surplus of slow burners this year.
Viewers will be confronted with harsh truths about modern society that we’re all engaged with. Whether it be “keeping up with the Joneses” or looking at your phone more than you should, Pilgrim will violently shake you into seeing the true blessings around you.
Now available exclusively on Hulu.