We’re getting pretty spoiled with holiday horror movies lately. It’s A Wonderful Knife not only combines one of the most inventive movie titles ever with a heartfelt story that borrows heavily from It’s A Wonderful Life. It might take the premise from that Jimmy Stewart movie, but it adds in some new wrinkles. So this isn’t just strictly a horror reskin of a classic movie, it’s much more than that.

It’s A Wonderful Knife is directed by Tyler MacIntyre and comes from a script by Michael Kennedy. If you enjoyed Kennedy’s previous film Freaky, you’ll get even more of a kick out of It’s A Wonderful Knife. It doesn’t have as much comedic elements or horror as that film, but it replaces them with some holiday cheer and genuinely touching moments. For those that need a refresher on the story of It’s A Wonderful Knife, here’s how it goes:

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.

Jane Widdop stars as Winnie alongside Jess McLeod as Bernie. They’re joined by Joel McHale, Katharine Isabelle, William B. Davis, Aiden Howard, and Justin Long.

Lots Of Holiday Heart And Some Pretty Brutal Kills

Jane Widdop adds a lot of heart with their performance as Winnie in It’s A Wonderful Knife. They also adds a good portion of the anguish and sorrow when they go to the time where they doesn’t exist. Seeing them react to her dad telling them that he’s not their dad or finding out their brother and other friends have died is heartbreaking. It’s a testament to the rest of the cast also being excellent, basically playing dual roles. Jess McLeod really cements the heart and feeling of It’s A Wonderful Knife though. They bring out the best in Widdop’s performance. Their arc in the film really hits the hardest as well.

What really steals the show is Justin Long, though. I think we all need more movies where actors wear giant white veneers and have a shit-eating grin at all times. He’s delightfully evil and so disingenuous, it’s masterful. The twists, turns, and redirections from what you think will happen also add much to It’s A Wonderful Knife. Even if you’re expecting the normal George Bailey tale with some people getting their throats slit, you’re in for some surprises.

Speaking of throats, It’s A Wonderful Knife doesn’t hold back with some of the violence or the kills. They might not make you go, “goddamn. I’ve never seen that one before,” but the blood red on the white/grey color schemes will always look good.

Read More: If You Don’t Think Die Hard Is A Christmas Movie, Then F**K You

The design of the Angel Killer in the film is really nice as well. It’s got some Black Christmas or Silent Night Deadly Night vibes going for it. It’s A Wonderful Knife might not be as bloody, violent, or filled with as many one-liners as other slasher classics. Still, it’s a movie for the outcasts, the loners, the losers, and whoever else gets tossed aside during the holiday season. It opens its arms wide and says, “You’re my people.”

There’s a lot of competition in the holiday slasher genre, but It’s A Wonderful Knife makes a great case to go alongside the classics of the sub-genre.

It’s A Wonderful Knife releases in theaters on December 10th, and heads to Shudder later.

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