Satan's Little Helper

11/13/2018 07:23

Film: Satan’s Little Helper

Year: 2004

Director: Jeff Lieberman

Writer: Jeff Lieberman

Starring: Alexander Brickel, Katheryn Winnick and Stephen Graham



This was a film that had been on my list of films to see for awhile. Mostly because I loved how the poster looked and the face was very creepy. One of my favorite podcasts had this film be part of their movie club, so I finally got a chance to check it out. The official synopsis is a naïve young boy unknowingly becomes the pawn of a serial killer.

For this film, it takes place on Halloween. We have a little boy named Douglas Whooly (Alexander Brickel). He has a hand-held game he is playing called Satan’s Little Helper. He is getting pretty good at it, but this child really isn’t in touch with what is real and what isn’t. His mother, Merrill (Amanda Plummer), makes a comment that he is the third grade, but clearly the boy playing him is older than that. They are going to pick up his sister from college. It is also revealed that Dougie really loves his sister and she is coming home to take him trick or treating.

Dougie isn’t happy when Jenna (Katheryn Winnick) brings home her new boyfriend, Alex (Stephen Graham). This causes the boy to flee when they get home where he encounters a masked man who looks like he is setting up Halloween decorations. Dougie follows him, because he believes that the man is Satan (Joshua Annex) as that is what his costume is. He wants to be just like the video game and become his little helper. The man doesn’t talk, just nods his head. He takes this creepy man home with him.

Alex decides to bond with the boy he will dress up as Satan. He takes Dougie to the store to pick out a costume. Satan attacks Alex and then goes back home with Dougie. It is then that Jenna and Merrill think it is Alex inside of the Satan costume. He then takes Dougie on a murderous rampage through the city.

I was actually pretty surprised about what this film was while watching it. This is an interesting horror comedy. The film is funny up until about the midway point where the family finally discovers that Satan isn’t Alex. It has quite a tonal shift from that point on. I do have to say, I was actually laughing about a lot of the stuff early on. I love the idea of this serial killer using Halloween as a way to get away with murder. He is in costume and we never see his face. He is setting up his victims to look like decorations and people are even taking pictures with him. I found this to be pretty interesting.

There’s a duality in this film that I quite enjoyed too. I actually liked that Merrill isn’t pushing religion on her children and actually allows Dougie to play the violent game that he is. Now this being a movie, but Dougie seems like a kid that is out of touch with reality and probably shouldn’t be playing a game like this. It is interesting too that later in the film, Satan switches to a Jesus costume, which plays into Dougie’s change of heart. I also found it interesting that a serial killer dressing up as a holy person like Jesus.

For this film as well, you kind of have to suspend disbelief. I wasn’t the biggest fan that Satan murders all of the police that are in the town. I get that it is an island and there is a probably a smaller force to begin with, but it seems a little too convenient. Going from there, I don’t’ know if I buy that a pretty much full scale riot with looters would happen as quickly as it does in this film, especially with it being Halloween. I would assume people tricking or treating or at a party, so it would take a bit more time to realize there is lawlessness.

The pacing of the film is good though. The film has a good running time and doesn’t waste any of it to build things up. We get introduced to the characters and they start to go about what is happening. It really takes advantage of Halloween, which I always like to see. The ending I did like except, I don’t know after everything that has happened would I be as trusting as they are. I do like that they never reveal the character, because I thought they were going to go with the cheap way out for a second.

Acting for this film I’m a little bit torn on. I hated Brickel. I don’t normally come down on children actors, but he was very annoying. Some of the things he said I couldn’t believe and he acts a little too young for what I think his age should be in the film. Winnick was pretty good. I know her from the television show Vikings. It was fun to see her much younger in this film and I loved the Halloween outfit she was given. Plummer wasn’t bad as the mother. She is quite quirky. I also really liked the look of Annex. We never see his face, but he is pretty imposing, which was good. Graham was also pretty good. I didn’t like his idea for his costume, but they were playing it for laughs. The rest of the acting isn’t great, but it went more comedic.

The effects for the film were actually pretty good despite the budget. They did hide a lot of it, which I’m actually fine with. The blood looked good for the most part. The only effect I had issues with was when the father, Dean Whooly (Wass Stevens) is killed. The guts that were pulled out looked fake. It was tried to play for a laugh, but it didn’t land for me. I thought despite the cheap look of the film, it wasn’t horrible. It was pretty well shot for the budget.

Now with that said, this isn’t the best film out there, but I did have a lot of fun with. I really liked the setting being on Halloween as the ingenuity of this killer to take advantage of it. It is also solid to have it take place on an island as well. We don’t get much that it is, but it really does make the characters isolated. The film has some comedy that worked for me early on, but then it does go a little bit darker as the film goes on. The characters make some of your typical horror film bad choices. I also like the duality of the costumes worn by Annex. The acting was up and down for me, some of it good and some of it not so much. I thought the effects and how it was shot was fine. The score really didn’t stand out, but it also doesn’t hurt the film. I think many of you will hate this film, but overall I thought it was fun. I think it is just a slightly above average slasher film with heavy comedic elements.


My Rating: 6 out of 10