Movie Review: “Satan’s Little Helper” (2004)

Satan's Little HelperI’d seen the cover of this movie on Netflix Streaming and thought it would be truly awful. After doing some exploring of movie reviews online, I was surprised to find it had favorable reviews. From the cover, I expected the villain to look like Sam from Trick ‘r Treat but I quickly learned he more resembled the cheesey mask from the first episode of the Goosebumps children horror series. In addition to his mask, the character wears an oversized black suit jacket over black pants. He also wears gloves to match his mask.

The movie begins with a cliched setup of Dougie, a naive nine-year-old who is enamored with his sister. Along with his mom, the two are on their way to the ferry to pick up sister, Jenna, who is coming home from college to spend Halloween with her family. But Jenna has a surprise, she has brought her new boyfriend, Alex, along with her; Dougie does not like this. During the car ride we see that Dougie is obsessed with the video game Satan’s Little Helper, in which a boy wreaks havoc on society to please Satan. The game is comically-antiquated compared to today’s gaming technology, even considering the 2005 release date of the movie. Dougie is so obsessed with the game that he is of course dressing up like Satan’s Little Helper, which is basically just a standard child’s devil’s costume with an added cape (think vintage Ben Cooper Halloween children’s costumes).

Satans1Upon arriving at home, Dougie gets in an argument with his sister about Alex; Dougie wants to spend time with her, and wants only her to take him trick-or-treating, yet Jenna wants to include Alex. In a pout, Dougie runs off and roams the neighborhood where he spies a man dressed in all black and wearing a cheap devil’s mask who he thinks is the real Satan from his video game. It appears the masked man is setting up a very gruesome but believable Halloween scene outside his house with the bloodied body of a woman.

Dougie follows Satan as he leaves this house and onto another, where Satan again poses what appear to be more bloody mannequins in grotesque displays. Dougie approaches the man and asks if he can be his helper, and if Satan can punish his sister’s new boyfriend. Satan silently accepts with the nod of his head and the pair walks off hand-in-hand down the street.

If I can interject here, Dougie’s naiveté it is pretty unbeliveable (as is the neighborhood’s total obliviousness to the acts). To be fair, it is Halloween so I guess I can give it a pass. The gore is decent here, however I was slightly bothered by the killing of a cat when Satan was doing his exterior decorating. I am usually really put off by animals getting killed in movies but this was a little less bothersome as it was just so ridiculous.

Katheryn_Winnick-753242Back at Dougie’s house, mom is hardcore coercing Jenna into dressing as a slutty-Renaissance woman (who looks more like I Dream of Jeannie with a crown of flowers on her head). After some uncomfortable banter between mom and Jenna, and after the obligatory “wow you look awesome” surprised stutter from Alex, Alex expresses an interest in Dougie and decides to dress as Satan for Hallow (you see where this is going?).

Dougie and Alex go off to the costume store, which is surprisingly well-stocked considering it is Halloween. After trying on some random masks, Alex, who has noticeable daddy issues, decides to dress as his own father and selects an equally disturbing mask and hairpiece to complete his costume. While leaving the store, Satan ambushes Alex in an alleyway and knocks him unconscious. Then Dougie and Satan walk  home to Dougie’s house.

Upon arriving home, mom and I Dream of Jenna mistake Satan for Alex in a Devil costume. Never talking, Satan plays along, even getting semi-intimate with Jenna (there’s some serious overacting here on Jenna’s part). Everyone just assumes Alex is very committed to the role. The doorbell rings and somehow, the family has already run out of candy. So “Alex” and Dougie do off to the store for more.

SLH7This scene is really silly. Satan is happily filling his cart with duct tape, knives, and rope while Dougie follows him in awe. Well, Satan of course doesn’t have to pay for anything, so he leaves the store with the goods and proceeds to mow down and kill several bystanders, including a store clerk who chases after him for stealing. Comically Dougie cheers out points achieved for the kills, just like in his video game.

Around this time, the movie becomes stale. The family now notice something is up and Satan lashes out. The novelty of the silent Satan who has strung along this family for this long is just off. In the last third of the movie, Satan murders Dougie’s dad, binds Dougie’s mom and attends a costume party with her and offs several guests, tracks down Alex’s dad (and girlfriend) and murder them, kills some police officers, and finally kills Alex (who had regained consciousness and tried to save the family). At the very end, Satan has a couple of costume changes, ultimately approaching Dougie’s house in a police outfit pretending to be an officer responding to the call.

Overall Impression:

4-51The kills are silly but gory. The acting is iffy but the unique idea alone warrants a watch. Satan does go the entire movie without exposing his real face or identity and he also never utters a word which I actually liked. It was genuinely creepy. Overall, I recommend this to those who can tolerate comedic-horror and also to those wanting a Halloween-themed horror film (to which, oddly enough, there are not too many Halloween-themed horror movies out there).

Cons: bad acting, low budget, a disturbing animal death, loses steam in the last third of the film
Pros: creative storyline, decent gore

Mashup status: Think Michael Myers from the Halloween franchise with a naive child sidekick à la the psycho-Santa from Tales from the Crypt episode “And All Through the House.”

Rating: 5.5/10

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