By CHRIS HAMMOND
IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE
November 10, 2023
Starring: Cassandra Naud, Justin Long, Joel McHale,
Directed By: Tyler MacIntyre
Written By: Michael Kennedy
RLJE FILMS and SHUDDER
Angel Falls has a problem, it has a psychotic killer. Winnie Carruthers (Jane Widdop) life is not so wonderful. Her life changes when she eliminates the killer in a shocking fashion. A year later she mourns the loss of friends the killer took the lives of. Her family and friends see her as a downer on Christmas Eve she wishes she’d never been born. The next morning she awakes to find out her wish is granted and she discovers the killer (who is alive in this universe) is still on the prowl unabated.
IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE is a spin on the classic holiday film It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Kennedy who penned the body-swapping horror comedy Freaky, works his comedy/horror chops once again in this film. How can anyone go wrong with a cast that includes comedian Joel McHale, who plays a pretty restrained David Carruthers (Winnie’s dad)? He plays a caring yet out-of-touch father. McHale is popping up in many horror-themed films lately (Becky, Deliver Us from Evil). Not to be outdone is Justin Long who plays Henry Waters, Angel Falls’ Mayor. Long steals the show with his over-the-top character. He’s way too soft-spoken and kind, bordering on annoying. Long is a horror regular, but lately he pops up in a least a half dozen horror films a year. Another genre regular Katharine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, Freddy vs. Jason), plays Winnie’s aunt Gale Prescott. She is aware of Winnie’s depression and seems to be the only one who listens to her in her family.
MacIntyre wrangles his cast together for a humorous horror film that still has quite a bite. IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE is in the same vein as many other time-travel, alternate universe films, but adds in slasher and holiday elements. This only adds to the charm of the film, there’s death and destruction, but done in a tongue-in-cheek way. There are pop references from the eighties and a few from the future Winnie, like a Scream reference. These little interactions only add to the enjoyment of this seasonal slasher.
Widdop (Winnie Carruthers) is strong in their performance and is a decent “final girl”. Their only real ally in this world where she was never born is Bernie Simon (Jess McLeod), better known by everyone as “Weirdo”. There’s an overreaching element of excitement for Simon when she realizes that Winnie isn’t just trying to be mean to her, she really needs her help. Together they must stop the killer and get Winnie back to life.
All in all, this is a refreshing take on a classic Holiday film by updating it with a horror spin. IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE is just silly slashing fun, and for that, it makes the “nice” list.
Only In Theaters: November 10, 2023