It's a Wonderful Knife Review - A Christmas Tale Unwrapped


Winnie Carruthers: Jane Widdop

David Carruthers: Joel McHale

Henry Waters: Justine Long

Bernie Simon: Jess McLeod

Buck Waters: Sean Depner

Director: Tyler MacIntyre

Writer: Michael Kennedy
Release: 2023

The title "It's a Wonder Knife" doesn't leave much to the imagination about its origins and, in the same vein as the classic “It’s a Wonderful Life", the film explores a parallel world where the protagonist, Winnie Carruthers, faces the consequences of a choice that shaped her town's destiny. 

The story begins with Winnie heading to a Christmas Eve party with her best friend, Cara, whose grandfather is being pressured to sell his house by a local business magnate, the insufferable Henry Waters, who is on a mission to control the town through fair means or foul. 

Winnie and Cara set off for an evening of pre-Christmas high-jinks but the party takes a dark turn when a masked killer embarks on a murderous spree. Winnie, however, manages to save the day, and her brother in the process, and reveals the killer's identity, saving the town from disaster.

A year on, Winnie finds herself frustrated with the way the town has overlooked the trauma of the previous year’s events. Her ire is further fuelled by a sulk over her Christmas present, and wishes, under the Northern lights, that she had never been born. This sets off a new and catastrophic chain of events and so begins the meat of this tale as Winnie witnesses the disastrous consequences of her wish and attempts to reverse it, learning a few lessons along the way.

"It's a Wonderful Knife" bowls along at a reasonable pace in a nicely shot festive setting and is acted and scripted ably but it suffers an identity crisis, combining elements of a slasher/thriller and a feel-good Christmas film, falling short of being a true horror flick. The addition of comedic elements, shot through with pantomime villainy, add to the mix but it doesn't all tie together very well, leaving viewers uncertain about whether they're watching a horror-comedy, a feel-good Christmas film, or something else entirely. There's a sweet twist at the end. Or it would have been but I realised that it had been partially revealed earlier on so it was somewhat spoiled.

It's not designed to scare you witless (unless you're of an extremely nervous disposition). The gore and horror elements are formulaic and feel like add-ons rather than being central to the story so there's nothing here for the hard-core horror fan and it all becomes a bit of festive frivolity. 

Having said all of this, once you get your head around the fact that it's not a traditional Christmas slasher, it's watchable and entertaining enough on a gloomy Thursday afternoon. Don't write it off altogether but go in with expectations lowered and you might have a fun and engaging 87 minutes of festive horror(ish) fun. 



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