This slasher comedy spreads some holiday cheer and some blood for the new year.
We’re probably going to be seeing many versions of “It’s a Wonderful Life” on TV or in the movies. “Shrek Forever After,” “The Family Man,” “Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,” “It’s a Wonderful Binge,” and the list goes on. Now, we have a cheeky and goodnatured slasher comedy called “It’s a Wonderful Knife” entering that genre.
It’s one that has its flaws, but still has a good side to itself that keeps you watching. And it refuses to give the classic film the finger, because what movie would have the gall to do so? It’s a holiday favorite.
We enter the town of Angel Falls, on Christmas Eve, where the sleazy developer Henry Waters (Justin Long) has the slogan “I’m the best. F*#k the rest.” He’s planning to buy a family home belonging to Roger Evans (William B. Davis), who not only tells him “No,” but is immediately slaughtered by a masked killer, who looks like an angel version of Moon Knight.”
That same killer also murders his granddaughter Cara (Hana Huggins), who happens to be the BFF of the film’s main heroine Winnie Carruthers (Jane Widdop from “Yellowjackets”). Just as this killer can begin to start an annual tradition, Cara kills and unmasks him as Henry Waters. The trailers spoiled that, not me. Unfortunately for her, she begins to face a number of problems in her life the following Christmas Eve.
Her father (Joel McHale) is Waters’ friend and employee, her boyfriend Robbie (Jason Fernandes) is cheating on her with Darla (Zenia Marshall), her parents by her a sweatsuit while they give her brother (Aiden Howard) a new truck, and she has been rejected by NYU. It seems that nobody cares about her or what she has done to save everyone. In fact, one man blames her for killing the villain, as he was related to him. So, she goes to a bridge and wishes she wasn’t born. You know like how George Bailey did it, and learned his lesson the hard way.
Because she wishes she wasn’t born, the killer is still alive, striking fear and cynicism inside the town. Her father is a miserable sad sack, the developer is now the mayor, and no one recognizes Winnie. I mean how could they? She was never born. This is the part when I always say: “Hello? Anyone home?” or “Don’t you understand anything?” or “You were never born in this world, so nobody knows you.”
I loved “It’s a Wonderful Life,” keep in mind. I’m just adding a little humor into the mix. “It’s a Wonderful Knife” isn’t a comedy masterwork, because it doesn’t push its humor to new limits,” but it does have cheekiness and heart to keep us involved. Especially when Winnie’s only hope is the weird girl Bernie (Jess McLeod), who agrees to be her Clarence, and helps her find out how she can return to her original timeline.
Director Tyler MacIntyre (“V/H/S/99” and the writer of “Five Nights at Freddy’s”) and writer Michael Kennedy (“Freaky”) both seem to love combing the classic film with “Scream,” and unlike the recent horror hit “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” they don’t seem spoiled by commercialism. In fact, RLJE Films and Shudder are distributing this film. Maybe over time, it could develop as a cult following for the holidays if somebody finds it and spreads the word about it. But only time will tell.
On par with “Scream,” “Happy Death Day,” “Freaky,” and “Totally Killer,” the movie loves a young female heroine who has her vulnerabilities and common sense to deal with the killers. I don’t watch “Yellowjackets,” and I didn’t recognize her name in the credits, but Widdop does some good work as a girl, who starts to lose her hope in life until a reality check gives her a purpose. And this isn’t supposed to be part of reality, which is why most people wouldn’t believe a character’s fantasy problem.
The screenplay isn’t that funny, but it is interesting and warm-hearted on its own level, and cuts back on the mean behaviors once we enter this alternate timeline. And plus, I like a good slasher comedy with style and attitude, especially during the holidays. And this killer should have dealt with the jerks and idiots in “It’s a Wonderful Binge.”
This article was written by me with full support of the SAG-AFTRA strike.