Shudder Original It’s a Wonderful Knife: Spoiler-free review

IT'S A WONDERFUL KNIFE - Still 2 - Courtesy Shudder
IT'S A WONDERFUL KNIFE - Still 2 - Courtesy Shudder /

Christmas horror aficionados have been waiting for Shudder to roll out It’s a Wonderful Knife, and their wish came true on December 1. Subscribers can now watch the film on demand, fresh off its brief theatrical run.

Christmas horror is in my top three favorite sub-genres, so I was eager to watch It’s a Wonderful Knife. The poster art is amazing, and the film’s trailer definitely caught my interest.

As you can tell by the title, it’s a horror-centric take on Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life, but I caught a couple of other call-outs to holiday and/or horror films as well. My favorite was when the main character gets a pink work-out outfit for Christmas, and is made to begrudgingly model it for her family…an homage to Ralphie’s pink bunny suit in A Christmas Story.

It’s a Wonderful Knife is set during the holidays in an idyllic-looking town called Angel Falls, where Winnie Carruthers lives with her parents and her brother Jimmy. During a Christmas party with her friends, a white-masked figure in a white robe shows up and begins killing people (including Winnie’s best friend), but he is stopped by Winnie, who kills him.

It's a Wonderful Knife
Poster for IT’S A WONDERFUL KNIFE. – Courtesy Shudder /

Cut to one year later. Winnie is clearly still suffering from the trauma of the past year’s events, and she just isn’t feeling the Christmas spirit. She discovers that she didn’t get into the college she applied for, that her boyfriend has been unfaithful, and when she receives the aforementioned pink track suit, Jimmy is gifted with a nice truck.

Upset, Winnie runs off and wishes she had never been born, and although Clarence the angel doesn’t appear to give her guidance, she soon finds out that her wish has come true. In this new reality, Winnie never existed, and the killer, now known as The Angel is still slashing people all over town. To top it all off, she finds out that since she wasn’t there to stop The Angel, her brother Jimmy was killed last year.

The only ally Winnie can find is Bernie, a shunned school mate referred to as “Weirdo”, and the two become friends as they hide out in a movie theatre from The Angel. Their top suspect is Henry Waters, the mayor of Angel Falls, who also owns most of the town in this new reality. As the two young women set out to make things right so Winnie can return to her true reality, the body count rises. The Angel is a vicious killer, so there are multiple gory kills as the film heads towards its ending.

While It’s a Wonderful Knife doesn’t really add anything new and innovative to Christmas horror, it boasts a strong cast and beautiful cinematography. Angel Falls looks like any Christmas-loving town in a Hallmark movie, and the snow and cold add to the holiday atmosphere.

Jan Widdop, who played the ill-fated Laura Lee in Yellowjackets, is extremely likeable as Winnie, and Jess McCleod pairs nicely with her as “Weirdo” Bernie. Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers, Barbarian) is true to form and does a great job portraying the smarmy Henry Waters. We also get some strong performances by seasoned horror actors such as Katherine Isabelle (Ginger in the Ginger Snaps films), William B. Davis (The X-Files’ Cigarette Smoking Man), Cassandra Naud (Shudder’s Influencer) and Joel McHale (Deliver Us From Evil).

If you enjoy watching seasonal horror, It’s a Wonderful Knife is definitely worth adding to your Christmas viewing list, and it can currently only be seen on Shudder.

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