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‘It’s a Wonderful Knife’ Review: A Diverse, Modern Take on Frank Capra’s Holiday Classic with a Horror Twist 

Slice into the season: ‘It’s A Wonderful Knife’ carves up a fresh new tradition with a spine-chilling twist on a beloved holiday tale!

Its a Wonderful Knife Review
RLJE Films / Shudder

Its a Wonderful Knife Review: Almost all of us are familiar with the bewildering story of George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart), who is visited by an angel over Christmas and shown what life would be like if he didn’t exist. Frank Capra’s classic is ageless for several reasons, one of which is the sense of helplessness we all experience at some point in our lives. This sentiment is taken up by director Tyler MacIntyre and writer Michael Kennedy in the entertaining, bloody slasher—It’s a Wonderful Knife. This quirky, campy, and amusing slasher certainly has a chance to become an immediate holiday must-watch.

Its a Wonder Knife Review
RLJE Films / Shudder

One year has passed since Winnie’s closest friend was murdered on Christmas Eve by a masked assailant. Feeling defeated and lonely, largely due to her parents’ ignorance (Joel McHale and Erin Boyes), Winnie makes a wish to never have been born. Suddenly, the girl (Jane Widdop) is transported to a frightening parallel universe where she never existed, just like our dear friend Bailey. Now that the murderer is back and well, Winnie needs to work with Bernie (Jess McLeod), a schoolmate, to stop the murderer and then return to her own timeline.

It’s a Wonderful Knife is more than just its clever title, which is an obvious but amusing play on words. The film begins mysteriously; you’re not sure if it’s a slasher or a Hallmark-style holiday picture. The beginning is nearly hokey, but once it gets going, it takes off like Santa’s sleigh. The horror is a creative, contemporary take on a holiday classic, with a wonderful queer portrayal. Its plot doesn’t focus on the sexualities of the characters. It’s simply a part of their lives. One of the best parts of said representation are the gay aunts.

Its a Wonder Knife Review
RLJE Films / Shudder

Winnie’s aunt Gale (Katharine Isabelle) and her wife Karen (Cassandra Naud) are the ones who support her the most while she goes through a grief period and doesn’t understand how everyone else can move on so quickly. (Writer’s note: I, for one, aspire to be that gay aunt to my nieces and nephews). It’s also worth mentioning Isabelle’s character whose full name is Gale Prescott, which appears to be a reference and a tribute to the queens of Scream, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Relating to the younger cast ensemble, Widdop, best known for their role as Laura Lee in Yellowjackets, and McLeod is an especially quirky, endearing duo as Winnie and Bernie. While everything around them is disintegrating and the masked killer prays on them, their bond is still able to bloom; it’s not forced, but forms spontaneously as the girls battle the murderer. And when it comes to the veterans of the screen, Justin Long fans will be delighted and utterly amused by the overly tanned, white-teeth-always-smiling Henry Waters. 

Its a Wonderful Knife Review

Its a Wonder Knife Review - Rotten Tomatoes
RLJE Films / Shudder

It’s a Wonderful Knife is unapologetically gay but also bloody. When compared to other holiday slashers, this one isn’t as gory, yet it keeps horror aficionados satisfied. The kills stay interesting throughout the film. It’s a difficult task among so many slashers, to come up with intriguing death scenes, yet the film succeeds in this regard. The killer is also striking and frightening. Although most slasher killers are clothed in black, this one is clad in snow-white, with a white coat and a frightening mask of the same color, which may remind some of a faceless boy from The Haunting of Bly Manor.

After contemplating the slasher post-watching, it’s clear that it’s not about trying to guess the killer because it’s revealed early on. Instead, it’s about the route to confronting the murderer and what occurs when one person suddenly ceases to exist. More significantly, the film holds comparable lessons to the original and leaves us with a nice, fuzzy sensation, assuring us that we are all here for a reason and that we touch the lives of others even when we are unaware of it.

The MacIntyre and Kennedy slasher draws you in and shows you a familiar story in a horror environment. It’s a Wonderful Knife, like Black Christmas or Krampus, is an immediate holiday classic that deserves to be on “The Best of Holiday Edition” lists and recommendations. If a fake-tanned Long isn’t enough to persuade you, perhaps a strong LGBTQ+ portrayal and gore will. This one is a hoot!

Grade: B

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