Tyler Macintyre (director)
01 November 2023 (released)
29 November 2023
The title couldn't be more on the nose regarding the inspiration for this film and if you haven’t seen the original then you may not get the most from this.
The goodies and baddies are set out very quickly with dastardly developer Henry Waters (Justin Long) looking to develop the town of Angel Falls to the point of being unrecognisable. In the way is Roger Evans (William B Davis) and paid a visit by Waters and later on the town serial killer ‘The Angel’.
Meanwhile Winnie (Jane Widdop) and best friend Cara (Hana Huggins) are getting ready for Christmas with a party that is attacked by the aforementioned killer taking out Cara and others. But Winnie electrocutes the killer, of course revealing the identity.
One year later and Winnie is still feeling the hurt of the murders and frustrated that everyone around her has moved on. Almost as if they are in denial of what happened, which is compounded by Winnie’s brother getting a much better gift from her thoughtless father, and her relationship with Robbie falling apart. Utterly distraught she declares that it’s like she doesn’t exist and never been born.
Cue an aurora borealis and Winnie finds the town completely changed with Waters in charge. There’s poverty, destitution and the killer is back, though treated more as a hazard to be avoided than an ongoing threat. As Winnie works out what has happened and makes an unlikely alliance with Bernie (Jess McLeod) – known in this and previous reality as just Weirdo – they set about correcting the timeline.
There’s a lot to enjoy in It’s A Wonderful Knife though probably more for those who know It’s a Wonderful Life, than anything else. While director Tyler Macintyre and writer Michael Kennedy have good fun playing with the concept, they haven’t been that careful with other elements.
Once established there’s an air of predictability about where the film is going as regards the main killer plot. In that respect it’s not that far removed from a traditional Christmas slasher – the killer is a hooded angel – with plenty of blood and quite nasty at times.
Where it is more successful is with the characters as they change and develop, discovering things about each other and themselves. It’s not a deep character study by any means, it’s just enough to keep the interest and provide the film with a positive seam.
It’s a Wonderful Knife will be available on Shudder from 1 December 2023.