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It’s A Wonderful Slice (2024) Review

We’re barely into March and here I am reviewing my first Christmas film of the year, the anthology It’s A Wonderful Slice from writer/director/editor/director of photography Michael Moutsatsos (The Butcher, Ravage Nation).  It gets off to an interesting start as Santa, carrying a wrapped present and a bloody machete, walks unnoticed through the crowds on Hollywood Boulevard. He wanders down an alleyway and shows us what’s in the box, a severed head.

From here it gets a little confusing as a title card reading Portland, Oregon pops up. I’m assuming they mean that this is near Portland because what follows are shots of a beautiful snowy forest and mountains, not a cityscape. Then we get a card reading “Santa’s Woods” before we get dropped into a forest that lacks the snow in the woods we just saw.

After that, though, It’s A Wonderful Slice starts to settle into its stories, beginning with a hiker gets a familiar looking head thrown at them before being chloroformed and tied to a tree by a killer Santa. Another hiker is shot, then beaten to death with a sledgehammer. The beating is off-screen and accompanied by what I hope were placeholder sound effects because they sound like somebody swinging a sword in an old kung fu movie rather than something hitting flesh and bone.

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I should mention here that the credits for the cast were simply a list of names, with no mention of who they played. There’s also no IMDB entry for It’s A Wonderful Slice as of yet, so I can’t credit the performers, several of whom seem to appear in multiple segments, like I usually do.

Chapter 1 “A Slay to Remember”, follows a famous actor who retreats to a small town to have a few days of peace and quiet over the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, the owner of his Airbnb is a stalker, and that’s not the worst thing about him.

Chapter 2 “Here Wolfie Wolf” sends a pair of filmmakers into the woods scouting locations for a werewolf movie. But, as we saw in the opening scenes, wolves aren’t the most dangerous predators in these woods.

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The third chapter, “Santa’s Got An Axe to Grind”, has another pair of hikers run afoul of the psycho Santa from “A Slay To Remember” and end up tied to a tree.

Chapter 4 “Demonic Intentions” has what appears to be the other actor from the first segment as a mentally ill man whom we first see ranting to his reflection about being born on Christmas and only getting one present. He hears an ominous voice in his head, and occasionally speaks in the same voice as his hold on reality continues to slip.

It’s A Wonderful Slice’s fifth and final segment, “A Doll to Die For” is shot in black and white about a crazy woman and the bound man she claims is Santa. And she’s mad at him for never bringing her the doll she wanted as a kid.

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I’m rather torn on just how to rate It’s A Wonderful Slice. From a technical perspective, it’s quite good, especially for so much of it having been done by one person. The cinematography especially stands out, with several interestingly framed and lit shots. The sound is good, with no trace of the frequent problem in low budget films shot outdoors, wind and other incidental noise drowning out dialogue.

Once the film gets past the Hollywood Blvd. and “Santa’s Woods” stuff, the individual segments are decent, though nothing really exceptional. There are a couple of decent practical gore effects mixed in, but despite a couple of other reviewers claiming it was exceptionally gory, most of the extreme violence is kept off-screen and what we do see is rather tame and frequently limited to blood splatter.

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The problem is, the first part of the film feels so disjointed that it feels unfinished. It just seems to lurch from random victim to random victim with no real rhyme or reason. There’s even a cool looking sepia tinted flashback to 1975 thrown in for no apparent reason. The random nature shots feel like they’re filling in for some footage that would tie it all together, just like the goofy sound effects.

If you can get past that, It’s A Wonderful Slice does enough things right to keep most DIY anthology and/or holiday horror fans entertained. There’s no date announced for the film’s release, and I would expect it to be closer to Christmastime, so maybe they can fix that messy opening. In the meantime, you can watch the director’s Facebook page for updates about its release.

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