At some point around the release of Satan’s Little Helper in 2004, I saw a trailer that I must not have been paying very good attention to. The end result was that I walked away thinking this was some sort of comedy (though still one with no relation to Santa Clause) and that the image that is most associated with this film (the mask the killer wears) was some sort of imp or gnome – a “little helper” as it were.
I was wrong on many accounts. Obviously, for starters, this is a horror film and not a comedy. For another thing, there are no supernatural elements to this film; at least, unless you count somebody who can take out a pair of armed cops with a roll of duct tape without them letting out a shot and can change costumes in the blink of an eye between scenes as a supernatural element. Which it is, but if so that causes a whole lot of films that weren’t supposed to be supernatural to be moved into that category.
The “little helper” in question is a little boy who thinks it would be a fun game to join a masked man in killing everyone in town. When he discovers that he doesn’t want his father to be among the dead, the partnership is over, but deals with the devil never end that easily.
My biggest problem with Satan’s Little Helper is the fact that straight from the get-go it joins forces with Hellraiser: Hellworld in stating the evils of video games in all their guises. Hundreds of impressionable young parents are watching this movie, convinced that violent video games are going to convince their children to hit pregnant ladies and blind men with shopping carts and attempt to murder their older sister’s boyfriends. Speaking of video games… what kind of liberal arts major interprets “if you get bored” as “right away”? The guy should have been taking in the sights of his girlfriend’s house, not sitting on her brother’s PSP.
There is actually some real suspense in the movie, in the realm of whether or not Jenna will get killed? This is somewhat rare in a movie no matter how hard they try to put it in, especially a movie that bills itself as a horror comedy. However, the idea of suspense is ruined in the last chapter or so with the obvious tricks (that they explain to you twice, just in case you didn’t get it the first time) and repeated ploys that make you wonder if the killer has anything left in his bag of tricks. However, it is even more obvious that no one in the family is going to learn anything, giving you an indication of just what happens after the cliffhanger ending.
I originally was mad that they tell you, quite explicitly, who the killer is in the beginning, but by the end of the film you still haven’t seen his face. Is it really who they say he is? Or is he some guy, pretending to be the guy he saw on the news? Everybody buy the sequel…although there is none, so that makes this ploy all the more pointless.
All in all, it was pretty entertaining. Despite the bad points, I enjoyed watching it. There was some gore, some suspense, some comedy. There were some surprises (how many slashers do you seeing doing stuff like that to stray cats?) and, the characters were unbelievably frustrating. Oh, and there are some instances of injuries being magically healed. And I have to say, if that kid was in my family and kept bringing the killer back into the house, he would not have lived to see the cliffhanger.