The horror-ification of the holidays continues when the writer of Freaky takes on a holiday classic with
It’s A Wonderful Knife.
During the Christmas holiday, Winnie saves her town of Angel Falls by killing a psychotic murderer who
had just killed her best friend. Over the course of the next year, the town’s grief-stricken hero becomes
an outcast even from her family. Driven to suffer alone on the anniversary of her friend’s murder, the
angry and despondent Winnie makes a wish that she had never been born. Instantly, her wish is
granted and she gets to see how the town has fared without her existence. Horrified by the continuing
murder spree that the killer now known as “The Angel” has perpetrated, Winnie realizes that she must
do whatever she can to return to her own existence.
Written by Michael Kennedy, It’s A Wonderful Knife is a comedy horror film. The film is Kennedy’s
second re-imagining of a classic movie having also written the Freaky Friday remake, Freaky starring
Vince Vaughn. The film stars Yellowjackets star Jane Widdop as Winnie, Jess McLeod as Bernie, Joel
McHale, Katharine Isabelle, and Justin Long. Knife is directed by Tyler MacIntyre who wrote the script
for Five Nights At Freddy’s and directed Tragedy Girls (2017).
Kennedy does not seem to lack imagination. On the surface, the idea of creating a horror movie out of a
Christmas classic presents itself as intelligent. While Knife is nowhere near as smart as Freaky, it
creatively carves out its own story while paying homage to the original. However, the script is so inane
that it seems like the classic, It’s A Wonderful Life, must not exist in this movie’s universe. This
supposition is crushed when the heroine and her assistant make references to the film, identifying each
other as characters from the movie. Kennedy may be attempting to make a point about how
psychological trauma and bullying can lead a person toward suicidal tendencies but the environment he
creates in Angel Falls is so devoid of empathy, sincerity, and just plain common sense that it cannot be
taken seriously enough for anyone to care about them. At a certain point in the movie, the audience
wishes that everyone, except the heroine, was dead.
The other troubling issue in the film is the characterization of the identities. The world of Angel Falls is a
true anomaly in the world because it seems like 95% of the population is queer. In interviews, Kennedy
revels in the fact that he was given the green light by the studio to create this world. In and of itself,
having such a skewed population is really not a problem. The problem arises in the fact that all the non-
queer people in the film are stupid and/or evil. Of course, in any horror movie, there is a certain level of
incredulous behavior that is normally exhibited by those in the film. In this case, to lock those behaviors
within one group of people appears mean-spirited and causes one to wonder if an agenda is being
stated by the creators.
That being said, Knife is more of a comedy than a horror. It is funny where it needs to be (and some
places where it shouldn’t) but it does not scare at all. The horror genre label is ascribed to this film due
to the amount of blood and gore that is exhibited throughout the movie. The film actually plays more
like a Scooby Doo mystery than a scary horror flick with the heroine attempting to discover the identity
of the killer in order to kill them so that she can get back to her world.
Relying upon the relative success of last year’s Violent Night and the possibility of the upcoming
Thanksgiving, It’s A Wonderful Knife looks to capitalize upon the turning of a usually peaceful and calm
holiday atmosphere into a disturbing frenzied assault upon sentimentalities. Movies like these are not
uncommon but they seem to be acquiring a more mainstream audience in recent years. The
breakthrough concept is using a beloved holiday classic as the source material. What’s next, Rudolph
the Red-Nosed Reindeer?
Rated R for bloody violence, drug use, and language, It’s A Wonderful Knife is a typical horror movie that
has the potential to be good but fails in some of its execution. We wish that they had hit the reset
button and tried it again.
It’s A Wonderful Knife will be in theaters on November 10.