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It’s a Wonderful Knife – Toronto After Dark

TADFF 2023 Review It's a Wonderful Knife
An entertaining, and surprisingly heartwarming, slasher film take on It’s a Wonderful Life.

It’s a Wonderful Knife – Toronto After Dark

Release Date: November 10, 2023
Runtime: 01:30
Synopsis:
After saving her town from a psychotic killer, Winnie Carruthers’ life is less than wonderful. When she wishes she’d never been born, she finds herself in a nightmare parallel universe where without her, things could be much, much worse.

A young woman traumatized by a Christmas Eve serial killer wishes she was never born in It's a Wonderful Knife. A knife-wielding killer dressed as a snow angel on Christmas Eve terrorizes the town of Angel Falls. The killer, who turns out to be local developer Henry Waters (), is killed by Winnie Carruthers (), but not before she loses the people she cares about. A year later, Winnie is distraught that her family, including father David (), brother Jimmy (), and aunt Gale (), have seemingly moved on from the killings.

Winnie wishes under the light of the aurora borealis that the town would be better if she had never been born. The wish comes true and Winnie is shocked to discover that Henry Waters is still alive and now the mayor, with the angel killer terrorizing the town regularly for a year. Winnie convinces local outcast Bernie Simon () to help stop the killer again and find a way to return to her reality.

It's a Wonderful Knife Synopsis

It's a Wonderful Knife is a Christmas slasher comedy directed by Tyler MacIntyre (Patchwork, Tragedy Girls) and written by Michael Kennedy (Freaky). Loosely inspired by It's a Wonderful Life, the film's protagonist Winnie Carruthers, played by Jane Widdop (Yellowjackets), wishes that she was never born, only to discover that doing so meant she was not around to stop the angel-dressed serial killer terrorizing her town. In this alternate reality, Winnie's family is a shell of their former selves and no longer recognizes her. Winnie can only convince “weirdo” Bernie to “be her Clarence” and help restore the town to normal.

My Thoughts on It's a Wonderful Knife

In some ways, It's a Wonderful Knife can be described as both a Christmas slasher film and its sequel, as the original killing spree and unmasking of the killer all happen before the opening title card and includes a cameo by The X-Files. This helps director Tyler MacIntyre and writer Michael Kennedy subvert slasher film expectations, as when he returns in an alternate reality, you already know that Henry Waters, played by a delightfully sleazy Justin Long sporting fake teeth, is the villain. However, MacIntyre and Kennedy still have a few surprises up their sleeves.

On top of being an entertaining slasher film with some gory kills, It's a Wonderful Knife is surprisingly heartwarming. This is particularly due to the growing bond that develops over the film between Winnie and Bernie, the latter of whom has been viewed as little more than the teen weirdo. It's a Wonderful Knife also turns out to be a very LGBTQ-positive film, which includes Winnie's gay brother Jimmy and lesbian aunts Gale Preston, played by Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, American Mary), and Karen Simmons, played by (Influencer).

Through his script for It's a Wonderful Knife, it is apparent how much Michael Kennedy was influenced through his collaboration with

Christopher Landon on Freaky, as this film feels in the same league as that 2020 film, as well as Landon's two Happy Death Day films. It's a Wonderful Knife is also a satisfying follow-up to his 2017 breakthrough Tragedy Girls, another subversion of the typical slasher film. Altogether, It's a Wonderful Knife has all the makings of a new Christmas horror classic.

In honour of Toronto After Dark Founder Adam Lopez's continuing fight with Stage IV Cancer, we ask you to consider making a donation to the Sunnybrook Foundation

Trailer for It's a Wonderful Knife – Toronto After Dark

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.