Is there a perfect Christmas horror film out there? Krampus? Silent Night, Deadly Night? Violent Night? Mean One? Black Christmas? Christmas Evil? Gremlins? Rare Exports? If you could write your perfect Christmas film, what would it feature? Killer Santa? Does it take place on Christmas? Is it funny? Is it scary? I don’t know if I have the answer for mine. I think that when I see it, I’ll know.
Some of those listed above are just BARELY considered Christmas horror films. Some are too funny. Some are too family oriented. Some aren’t scary enough. Some are just too damn low budget. That’s why I’m interested in a Christmas slasher that ISN’T named Black Christmas. Enter It’s a Wonderful Knife, which might just have the best title of any of the aforementioned movies.
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.
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%
Tagline: Every time a bell rings an angel gets to kill.
One thing that I must get out of the way first: Katherine Isabelle (Ginger Snaps, Freddy Vs. Jason, See No Evil 2), who plays Gale Prescott (Get it? Get it?) in this movie, might be the most beautiful scream queen in the history of horror. There. I said it. Let’s move on.
Justin Long, Cigarette Smoking Man (X-Files reference for the youngin’s reading this), Joel McHale, my Lord the number of big-name stars in this is incredible. This is quite a bit for a director (Tyler MacIntyre) who is known for directing a segment in V/H/S 99 and WRITING Five Nights at Freddy’s.
There is no doubt that this is a Christmas movie. The music. The colors. The setting. The lighting. But the killer’s outfit doesn’t exactly scream Christmas, since the killer wears all white and looks like a cross between Moon Knight and the fencer-killer from Urban Legends: Final Cut. Did I mention he’s also a clumsy runner like Ghostface?
The kills can be inventive, and the gore is pretty decent. It starts with a good slasher intro (about 20 minutes long) which kills off a couple of teens right off the bat, establishing our heroine (who looks like a young Barbara Crampton at times giving the flick bonus stab wounds points) as the savior of the town. This sets in motion the remaining hour which is a riff on It’s a Wonderful Life.
Confession: I haven’t seen It’s a Wonderful Life all the way through, but I’ve seen enough clips and such that I get the gist. The annoying little girl with the screechy voice that says, “every time a blah blah blah, an angel gets its wings” haunts me to the point that I will never ever watch the film under any circumstances.
But yeah, outside of the small differences between the two worlds this girl now inhabits, and the minor details that have changed due to her wishing she was dead and not the heroine of the town, if you know ANYTHING of the original Christmas classic, you know the beats this film is going to hit. There’s no real mystery here, and we even know who the killer is (or do we?) as well as the lesson she’s going to learn (*SPOILER*: She’s a lesbian!).
This doesn’t take away from the fun, though. There are a lot of good slasher elements to the film. It has a Happy Death Day vibe to it, and I loved that film. I just wish it had been a bit darker or scarier and not so predictable. Add it to the Christmas yearly watchlist.
As for me, I’m going to keep looking for that perfect Christmas film. This, however, is not it.