Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Review: Satan's Little Helper (2004)

Sometimes, as you crawl through Netflix late at night in search of something to watch, you come across a movie that really makes you stop and think "what the hell am I looking at right now? No, really...what is this? Should I watch this...?" This right is one of those sorts of films. It just leers at you from a listing of films, daring you to watch it. The cover itself seems to imply that if you don't watch it that it may, in fact, come into your house as you sleep and breath heavily over your slumbering form.

Stephanie Meyer assures me that this sort of behaviour is romantic.

When I run across these sorts of movies I normally find myself feeling compelled to investigate them, which is what lead me to watching today's selection. Well, that and I really don't feel like waking up to the guy from the cover staring at me from the side of my bed. Bella Swan might find that shit romantic, but I would likely crap my bed. And let me tell you, my bed doesn't need that. It has a bad enough time with me rubbing my body on it. Go grab some snacks because we're going in hot.

Just be careful who you go shopping with....
The story focuses on young Dougie Whooly, a nine year old seemingly obsessed with a video game. I know, shocking, right? This particular game involves him being Satan's little helper, because parents will really buy their kids anything, right? Granted, it's not that bad. I played Splatterhouse when I was a kid and it was basically pure gore-filled bliss. Parents lost their minds over Mortal Kombat, but they never really worried all that much about the game series where you use your enemies bloody limbs to beat them to death while possessed by a demonic mask. Oh well. He and his mom head off to go pick up his sister, who's been at college but is coming home just to spend Halloween with her little brother. That's sweet. The sweet moment is then interrupted when he proclaims that he wants to marry her....what is it lately with me watching movies where siblings toeing that incest line? I mean, I'm all for loving your sibling but there is a line. These people need Jesus or something.

Well, shit, that's almost as disturbing as the Passion of the Christ.
Things don't go really well for poor incestuous Dougie though as his sister turns out to actually have picked up a stray boyfriend on the way home. Darn the luck. So, it's not big surprise that Doug is a bit pissed off about this and reacts rather hostilely towards Alex, her boyfriend, but he then goes and turns that aggression towards his sister, Jenna, too before running out into the streets to undoubtedly meet some magical friend who will turn that frown upside down.

I kinda walked right into that one, didn't I?
So, yeah, he meets this guy dragging a dead lady out of a house that he just assumes is a prop for Halloween. This kid is either very naive or he's used to a much higher quality variety of Halloween decoration than I am. He watched the guy arrange the body on a porch, because clearly this is just a man who loves to make a good display for the holiday, and then follows the masked man as he leaves to arrange another dead body on in a yard not far away. Boy, he's been busy. It turns out the kid think this guy is Satan, so he approaches him and declares that he wants to be his little helper. This is going to go really badly. Meanwhile at home, Dougie's mom is convincing Jenna to try on her slutty Renaissance Fair outfit (that's essentially what the movie calls it) and she, of course, ends up wearing it and enjoying how good she looks in it.

Someone else really seems to like how she looks in it too.
Alex goes with Dougie to the store get a Satan costume so he can bond with the kid, but ends up getting knocked out. He should be happy though, as he could easily be a lawn ornament at this point. Satan then returns home with his little helper and everyone just assumes he's Alex, because why wouldn't he be? And, as the above screenshot shows, Satan quite likes Jenna and her costume too. This further leads her to believe it is simply her actor boyfriend getting into his role, as he fondles her and eventually even chokes her. Good call, lady. Luckily, her confused little brother interrupts her impending death and Satan stops as he seems to like the kid more than cheap thrills and doesn't want to upset him. Awww, he's a slasher with a heart of gold. The dynamic duo here heads off to get candy, but instead get murder tools because Satan has more tricks in store for tonight than treats. They head home with their loot but, while cutting through a cemetery some cops show up and Satan has Dougie run on ahead so the kids doesn't see him butcher the cops.

They have a very special bond that is tempered in childlike innocence & brutal murder. Sorta like Bert and Ernie.
After all those pesky cops are dead, he returns to the waiting Dougie and Jenna finally starts to realize that the creepy guy who tried to strangle her after she let him finger her might not actually be Alex. Not because of how he's acting, the fact that he's not talking, or the fact that he tried to kill her. Nope, what clues her in is that he's wearing the wrong shoes. Ugh. She's tells her mom her concerns but is ignored and the father shows up just in time for Dougie to introduce Satan who he then tells to kill his father. Well, that kids did ask for it, so friendly neighborhood Satan here does just that and guts the father rather brutally in front of the whole family.

WHIMSY!
The kid finally figures out what it took footwear for his sister to realize and he takes his mother's advice and runs. Jenna tries to call the cops, but they were all whimsically slaughtered, so her mother gets kidnapped and taken to a Halloween party. Alex shows up and the two teenagers come to the conclusion that the killer is actually a guy named Billy who committed a little harmless arson the year before. They grab new costumes that the killer won't know, and head off to save the mother. At the party everyone assumes she's with her husband and the two are simply wearing amusing costumes, so there's obviously no help to be had there. He even poisons the punch, but I can't really feel bad for a group of people who think nothing is up here.

Saving the gene pool one party at a time.
As riots break out, the kid sits in terror at home and discards his costume, finally praying to God for help. The teenagers go after the killer but get recognized because the sister was too dumb to save herself from the same logic that exposed the killer to her stellar observation skills (he recognizes her shoes). He sticks a final piece of tape over the mother's nose and pushes her in to the crowd, who are too drunk and stupid to notice that a woman is in fact dying. They just barely save her and Alex goes after the killer, but somehow if convinced that he's his father, because I guess the filmmakers wanted a Star Wars joke in here. He takes Alex's gun, shoots his own hand, and walks off. That sorta just happened...moving on. They go to his house and see the killer and shoot him, only to unmask him a reveal it was actually his father.

This right here is the face of someone who is having trouble buying this plot twist too.
But, in an even more shocking twist, Jesus shows up and the kid immediately trusts him because clearly he's got the whole Jesus schtick down. He even has a bleeding hole in his hand which is just gotta be the stigmata...or a bullet wound. They figure out that Jesus is actually Satan though, but not before he switch his costume with Alex which results in them killing him. The kid radios the cops, as he sees a rescue copter, and one just happens to show up and they're really happy to see him. He even takes the time to spraypaint a 6 under the 66 of their address as the movie leaves on a cliffhanger that pretty clearly implies this whole family just got murdered while the credits roll.

It turns out the killer was actually just Robert Z'Dar all along.
That's Satan's Little Helper. What did I think of it? Well, I will just come right out and say I found the first half of the film quite amusing. Seeing this weird sort of slasher bonding with kid dynamic definitely got my attention. I honestly wish it had stuck to that dynamic, because it was the best part of the whole film. After that bit vanished the movie sort of fell into the common slasher tropes and felt a lot less creative. Although I will say that Jesus mask is honestly one of the scariest things I have ever seen in a film. I don't think as many people would go to church every week if that face was staring down at them from a cross. Eugh.

Jesus loves you...sometimes against your will and with chloroform.
Overall though, it's a pretty entertaining entry into the slasher genre that really has its moments. Over the years since its release it has grown a little cult following among horror fans and I can see why. The humour definitely leaves a lasting impression and the concept is rather brilliant, even if the execution isn't exactly perfect. I don't know if I would watch it too many more times, but it's worth watching if you dig slasher movies and want something a bit different. So, until Elvira shows up and asks me to be her little helper, I'll be here wading through the mire and muck to bring you a few chuckles (and maybe even a solid review while I'm at it). Later days, bleeders.

Remember, if Satan can treat a lady right, so can you.

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