Directed by: Tyler MacIntyre
Premise: A woman kills a masked murderer on Christmas Eve. A year later she is transported into an alternate universe in which she does not exist and the killer roams free.
What Works: It’s a Wonderful Knife mixes horror and comedy and the humorous parts of the film are the most successful. The cast has good comic timing and the movie benefits from a wry sense of humor. Jess McLeod impresses in a supporting role as a socially awkward classmate of the protagonist. She’s the most watchable and engaging character as well as the most sympathetic. The movie should have been built around her instead.
What Doesn’t: As its title implies, It’s a Wonderful Knife is a spin on Frank Capra’s 1946 holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life in which George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) is shown what life would be like if he had never been born and learns to appreciate his blessings. It’s a Wonderful Knife borrows the basic idea. Winnie Carruthers (Jane Widdop) stopped a masked killer but a year later she is still mourning the loss of her friends, so much so that she wishes she were never born and is transported into a version of her town in which she doesn’t exist. This has little to do with the conceit of Capra’s film and it isn’t a very imaginative take. The whole point of It’s a Wonderful Life is a man realizing the value of his existence. Winnie of It’s a Wonderful Knife doesn’t realize much of anything. She starts the movie sad while everyone around her is upbeat with Christmas cheer. Her depressed attitude is justified and there is no epiphany here except a very late romantic twist that comes across tagged on. A lot of It’s a Wonderful Knife doesn’t make sense. The killer is a different person in each timeline and there’s very little urgency to figuring out who is committing the murders. People get killed but no one reacts in a believable or affected way even moments after a murder. It’s a Wonderful Knife is not scary. The filmmakers do a poor job setting up the attacks and the gory moments are clumsy instead of shocking. The movie also looks noticeably cheap. The digital cinematography gives everything an artificial look. It’s a Wonderful Knife has the same production values of a Hallmark Christmas movie. Those pictures are ripe for satire and this could have been brilliant if the moviemakers had done anything with it.
Disc extras: Available on various streaming services.
Bottom Line: It’s a Wonderful Knife is a disappointing attempt at holiday horror. It is badly conceived, poorly executed, and not much of a horror film or a holiday movie.
Episode: #978 (December 24, 2023)