It’s a Wonderful Knife Review
It’s a Wonderful Knife (2023) Film Review, a movie directed by Tyler MacIntyre, written by Michael Kennedy and starring Jane Widdop, Jess McLeod, Joel McHale, Katharine Isabelle, William B. Davis, Justin Long, Aiden Howard, Erin Boyes, Sean Depner, Zenia Marshall, Jason Fernandes, Hana Huggins, Dmitri ‘Vegas’ Thivaios, Cassandra Naud, Sydney Scotia, Thomas Nicholson and Oscar Chark.
Director Tyler MacIntyre creates a fun holiday horror movie event for Shudder with the entertaining horror/ thriller, It’s a Wonderful Knife. This film is inspired by the Jimmy Stewart holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life in several ways but mixes that inspiration with a plot that would be straight out of a holiday-time Scream movie. It’s a clever combination and the picture is all the more fun to watch as a result.
Jane Widdop is featured in the leading role within the movie as Winnie Carruthers, a girl with NYU aspirations who stops a corrupt politician in a small town, Henry Waters (who else but horror movie regular Justin Long?) after a masked Henry kills a few people in order to get control of the town. One of those folks who gets bumped off is the charismatic Cara Evans (well played by Hana Huggins). However, when Winnie wonders what it would be like if she was never born, we get that It’s a Wonderful Life twist where we see what would have happened to the town if Winnie didn’t put an end to his vicious killing spree.
This movie opens with a 15-minute pre-opening credits scene that is odd for a movie that runs less than 90-minutes but hey, that won’t bother viewers in the least. Also in the movie is Jess McLeod as Bernie Simon who is an outcast who indirectly points out that Winnie’s boyfriend is cheating on her with a girl named Darla (Zenia Marshall). Bernie becomes a central part of the picture as she befriends Winnie in the scenes where the town still has the killer(s) at large because Winnie now seems to have never been born to her parents. Winnie and Bernie find out they have more in common than they would have originally thought.
Of course, Long soon pops back into the movie as Winnie must stop Henry but when Winnie tells her dad from the other multiverse (so to say), played by Joel McHale, that Henry is the culprit, the film reveals another twist that will blow your mind. Also on board is Henry’s brother, Buck (Sean Depner), who is now a cop in the alternate reality the movie sets up.
There are some sequences that work better than others. This film effectively uses a movie theater for some of the scenes where a key killer goes on his rampage as well as for some of the parts where Winnie and Bernie get to know each other. Turns out, Bernie is not just an outcast but a depressed one as well so it will take Winnie to give her the will to try to live her life and be strong.
The masked killer thread is innovative. He uses his “knife” in creative ways but the movie can feel like it’s making up the “rules” as it goes along rather than seeming planned out in a more constructive way when it comes to the back and forth between “multiverses.”
That being said, Jane Widdop is reliable in the leading role and creates a sympathetic character and a decent heroine to make the action in the movie interesting. Jess McLeod is also well-cast as the outsider who finally gets a chance to have a friend that could help her while they team up to try to get the town back from the vicious murderer(s) for the good of society. Joel McHale, as Winnie’s dad, also unveils some surprising character traits as the plot thickens and McHale plays the role well. Katharine Isabelle, Erin Boyes and Cassandra Naud also shine in small but intriguing little roles in the movie. Boyes, in particular, gets to have some fun with her character here and the audience will enjoy her scenes.
It’s a Wonderful Knife is a fun movie but a flawed one. This film could have expanded some of its thematic elements to make the movie at least 10 minutes longer. However, it’s perfectly timed for the holidays. This horror film is sure to be a favorite of fans of slasher movies this holiday season. Justin Long fans will be happy to know that he nails his sleazy role as the town leader and we can’t wait to see him get his just desserts at the beginning. When he comes back to life in the multiverse, it will make audiences hate his character even more. Expect a huge hit for Shudder when this one hits streaming. It’s currently on the big screen if you want to get a jump start on seeing it. Stay put as the end credits roll for a fun holiday tune as well!
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