“It’s a Wonderful Life” stays a Yuletide deal with for all the fitting causes.

It’s candy, sentimental and brimming with life-affirming moments which have made generations smile. Can anybody hear the identify Clarence and never recall Henry Travers’ crinkly presence because the movie’s angel?

The horror spin-off “It’s a Wonderful Knife” runs with that template however can’t cease tripping over its personal ft. Clumsy, illogical and burdened by woke, “Knife” is the Christmas coal nobody wished.

Winnie Carruthers (Jane Widdop) has a picture-perfect life – on the floor. She has a hunky boyfriend, an adoring household and a loving aunt residing close by.

Too dangerous her father (Joel McHale, strong in a uncommon dramatic function) works ’around the clock for the city’s Mayor, a toothy jerk given further smarm by Justin Lengthy.

A serial killer crashes the vacation season, slaying Winnie’s finest pal amongst different innocents. Winnie kills the brute, dressed like a Moon Knight imitator lined in blood. A 12 months later, she will’t neglect how the killer took her pal’s life and soured her on Christmas eternally.

Are you able to blame her?

Everybody else on the town has moved on, leaving her emotionally unmoored. She didn’t get a lot reward for ending the killer’s reign of terror, both.

Simply the alternative, really.

Plus, her insipid father purchased her brother a brand new truck for Christmas whereas gifting her a garish pink jumpsuit.

It’s sufficient to make Winnie want she had by no means been born, and thru a magical coincidence she will get her request. Besides she realizes the killer would carry on killing with out her there to cease him. Even worse? Her bucolic small city curdled in her absence.

Now, she has to cease the killer (once more) and determine a strategy to reverse the spell that erased her existence.

The idea works, on paper, and it’s an authentic strategy to spin one thing sinister from Capra’s blueprint. It’s the execution that’s an unholy mess.

“Knife” clocks in at a tidy 85 minutes, however a lot of what’s seen on display screen makes little sense. The horror style hearts plot holes, however director Michael Kennedy’s movie leaves us scratching our heads so typically we’d go bald earlier than the tip credit roll.

  • Why would anybody assault Winnie for basically saving the city from the serial killer?
  • Why would loving dad and mom deal with their teen youngsters so unfairly on Christmas?
  • Why wouldn’t Winnie inform the cops to search for a person with chew marks on his arm after she offers the fiend an excellent, lingering chomp?

That’s only a few of many nagging questions. The movie additionally embraces woke bromides from the soar.

We get not one however two homosexual romances within the first 10 or so minutes. We see an interracial couple canoodling, plus a white senior citizen’s black granddaughter. Later, a key character goes from straight to bisexual with the introduction of tortured lesbian pal.

That’s Jessica McLeod, enjoying the city outcast Bernie.

There’s nothing incorrect with having a number of sexual orientations in a movie, in fact, so let’s set that straw man on fireplace, and quick. Overloading a undertaking like “Knife” with range field checking takes you out of the film. It’s compelled and condescending, and it does the narrative no favors.

None of this damages the movie’s enjoyment issue as a lot as Winnie’s dispiriting try to save lots of her city and herself. As soon as once more, horror film characters behave within the dumbest methods attainable, a trope “Knife” leans into for all its price.

The third act introduces a supernatural twist that dampens the movie’s satirical potential. Simply why does this small city worship Lengthy’s Mayor?

“Knife” qualifies as a horror comedy however in identify solely. You gained’t snicker, and even smile, on the proceedings, nevertheless it wouldn’t be the primary style hybrid to overlook half its potential.

The movie’s horror bona fides show equally weak, full with a miserable coloration canvas befitting an ’80s slasher movie, not a narrative poking enjoyable at small city USA’s Christmas pageantry.

Watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” once more over this strained imposter.

HiT or Miss: “It’s a Wonderful Knife” gives a miserable, pointless spin on the Frank Capra traditional.