Review: ‘It’s A Wonderful Knife’

Deck The Halls With Gore And Murder, Fa La La La La La La, La

It’s bad enough that there isn’t a proper sub-genre for “Thanksgiving Movie”, sure you can point to Planes, Trains, and Automobiles but that’s everyone’s go to. Face it, Thanksgiving is the red headed step-child of major holidays. As if that wasn’t obvious enough, this year’s Thanksgiving season has a movie crossing over the two, move loved, holidays surrounding it. Tyler MacIntyre‘s It’s a Wonderful Knife, aside from having the best pun title of the year, is the perfect piece of media for all those anxiously awaiting the joys of Christmas while still lamenting the passing of spooky season.

As you probably guessed from the title, It’s a Wonderful Knife is a play on Frank Capra’s iconic classic It’s a Wonderful Life. Winnie Carruthers is just a normal teenage girl whose life if forever changed after defeating ‘The Angel’ a masked slasher that crashed her Christmas Eve party killing her best friend (amongst others) and was planning a trail of terror. Seems like a pretty standard plot but this film dares to ask “What Happens Next?” Well, in Winnie’s case, not much. A year later the town has moved on, preferring to pretend the horrific events of the year before never happened, she begins to wonder if the world would be any different if she never existed. She really should have known better then to say such a thing on a meaningful date while an aurora shined overhead. As you can imagine she wakes the next morning to find a world where she never existed, and because she never existed, a world where “The Angel” is still killing its way through town.

I love this new sub-genre of horror movies with another genre’s template attached. FreakyTotally KillerHappy Death Day, all great in their own ways and, honestly, It’s a Wonderful Knife fits right in with that group. It’s not at the top of the list, but it’s definitely in the group. I think the biggest failing of the film is that it seems shackled to it’s inspiration, going step for step with the plot of It’s A Wonderful Life (sans the blood, murder, and LGBTQ representation). The film still manages to deliver a fun ride with plenty of laughs and more thrills but it just seemed more of a “Mad Libs” version of the 1946 version and less of a take on the concept. Thankfully MacIntryre had some aces up his sleeve when it comes to casting, specifically Justin Long as the real estate developer turned politician (sound familiar? It should) Henry Waters, the films lead in Jane Widdop and Jess McLeod who plays Bernie, Winnie’s only believer turned romantic interest.

Justin Long is a master of playing this type of character who you’re never sure is crossing over into caricature or not, then when the film ends you realize how perfectly it was played. He eats up the spray tan, bleached teeth, fake niceness of Water’s character and the fun he has is transferred directly to the audience watching. Two names on the cast list I have to bring up are Joel McHale who plays a disturbingly supportive and normal father to Winnie, something fans of the Community star are sure to enjoy but also be a bit surprised by…one would think he’d be more apt in the role Justin Long inhabits. Lastly, just to show appreciation for long term genre fans is the inclusion of Katharine Isabelle, one of the most beloved neo-scream queens of the last 20 years. She’s thoroughly enjoyable as Winnie’s no-nonsense lesbian aunt, but really I just bring her up to point out the Scream reference in her characters name, Gale Prescott (Gail Weathers, Sidney Prescott).

It’s A Wonderful Knife is in theaters now.

review-its-a-wonderful-knifeIt's a Wonderful Knife is that wonderful kind of film that gives you a trailer explaining exactly what you're going to get. If you weren't ready for Halloween to end, or if you can't wait for Christmas cheer to splooge all over your screen this flick can scratch a very specific itch. While I don't think it will become essential holiday viewing, there are definitely alot worse ways you can spend 90 minutes.