It’s a Wonderful Knife Is a New Christmas Classic

Courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.

In the last half-decade or so, we’ve been treated to a few hilarious slasher comedies that put horrifically awesome spins on beloved non-horror classics. Most notably, Happy Death Day was basically a remake of Groundhog Day, and Freaky had the exact same premise as Freaky Friday. And now, we can add another movie to that list: It’s a Wonderful Knife. As the name suggests, it’s a horror comedy version of the Christmas staple It’s a Wonderful Life, and in my humble opinion, it does its namesake proud.

It’s a Wonderful Knife was directed by Tyler MacIntyre, and it stars Jane Widdop, Jess McLeod, Joel McHale, Katharine Isabelle, William B. Davis, and Justin Long. In the film, Winnie Carruthers is a happy teenage girl with a happy teenage life, but that all changes when a masked killer goes on a rampage one Christmas Eve. He hacks up a few of the town’s residents, but when he goes after Winnie, his luck runs out. The girl eventually gets the upper hand and electrocutes him, and his brief but brutal reign of terror comes to an end.

After that, we fast-forward a year, and Winnie’s life has fallen apart. She’s still traumatized by the events of that fateful night, and to make matters worse, nobody seems to care about her anymore. She wishes she had never been born, and when she gets her wish, she finds out just how important her life really is. In a world where she never existed, the masked killer got away with his initial murders, and he hasn’t stopped. He kills someone every few weeks, and as you can probably guess, the only person who can stop him is Winnie.

Right from the get-go, It’s a Wonderful Knife is an absolute joy to watch. The first thing that hits you is the comedy, and it’s pretty hilarious. There were a bunch of times when I literally laughed out loud, and even when I didn’t, the jokes still brought a big smile to my face nine times out of ten.

What’s more, the characters in this movie are also fantastic. All of the performances are spot-on, so you’ll have no trouble at all connecting with these people and immersing yourself in this world and this story.

Courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.

In particular, I have to give a special mention to Justin Long. He plays Henry Waters, a spray-tanned douchebag who basically runs the entire town, and you will absolutely love to hate this guy. Not only is he a terrible person, but everything he says and does is just dripping with the worst kind of self-serving hypocrisy, so whenever he opens his mouth, you’ll feel an almost irresistible urge to punch him in the face.

It’s the kind of role Justin Long is known for playing, but in It’s a Wonderful Knife, he dials it up to 11. He changes his mannerisms and the tone of his voice to make Waters even more despicable, so this performance is a bit more stylized than we’re used to. In fact, I’d even say that this character would probably feel silly in a more serious film, but since this is a comedy, Long’s performance just adds to its charm.

Next, let’s talk about the horror in It’s a Wonderful Knife. I have to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of slashers, but I had an absolute blast with this one. The deaths and chase sequences are all really creative, and every time the killer enters the frame, director Tyler MacIntyre comes up with a new way to make your jaw drop.

Sometimes he utilizes gorgeous cinematography to craft a picture-perfect shot you could hang up on your wall, and other times he blasts you with a hard-hitting and unexpected thrill. There’s even a scene that reminded me a bit of the fantastic jump scare in episode eight of The Haunting of Hill House (if you’ve seen it, you know what I’m talking about), and in my opinion, it just might be an all-timer.

On top of all that, I also really loved the look of the killer in It’s a Wonderful Knife. He’s dressed in what looks like an all-white version of Ghostface’s classic outfit, and the mask is almost entirely blank. In fact, it doesn’t even have basic features like eyeholes or a mouth, so if you just saw it lying around, you might not even realize it was a mask.

People outside on Christmas Eve
Courtesy of RLJE Films and Shudder. An RLJE Films and Shudder release.

I have to admit, when I first saw this costume in the trailer, I thought it looked a bit odd for a slasher villain. I was actually a bit apprehensive about it, but when I saw how it was used in the movie, all my fears melted away. This costume just adds to that beautiful cinematography I mentioned earlier, so even though it’s not what you’d normally expect from this subgenre, it actually ends up working brilliantly.

Last but not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the message of It’s a Wonderful Knife. Just like its namesake, this film is also about the difference a single life can make, and it hammers that message home in some awesome ways. Most obviously, the entire premise is about how different the world would be if Winnie didn’t exist, but she’s not the only person who embodies this theme.

The movie also makes that same point in some more realistic ways with a few other characters, and I think that’s important. As great as Winnie’s story is, it might be a bit too fantastical to be relatable for some viewers. Sure, we get the point, but I doubt anybody is going to have a story quite like hers. However, the other characters’ stories are much more down to earth, so we can see ourselves in them a lot more easily.

On the flip side, I don’t have any huge issues with It’s a Wonderful Knife. Sure, there are a few things I could nitpick here and there, and it uses a cliche or two that I’m not a big fan of, but none of those problems significantly diminished the experience for me. On the whole, this is a fantastic movie that hits it out of the park with both its horror and its comedy, so if you’re looking to add something new to your annual Christmas watchlist, you can’t go wrong with It’s a Wonderful Knife.

It’s a Wonderful Knife is set to hit theaters on November 10.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Written by JP Nunez

JP Nunez is a lifelong horror fan. From a very early age, he learned to love monsters, ghosts, and all things spooky, and it's still his favorite genre today.

Zombies looking scary

Project Z Brings Terrifying Movie Monsters to Life

A haunting forest setting in Wyoming, 1993, where Catherine's story of fear and suspense unfolds, shadowed by the lurking presence of a sinister figure

Pablo’s Eyes: A Thriller Short