Satan’s Little Helper (2004) – Film Review

Satan's Little Helper (2004) – Film Review dvd

Director: Jeff Lieberman
Cast: Alexander Brickel, Katheryn Winnick, Amanda Plummer
Certificate: 15

By Sarah Morgan

Being good is boring and bad guys have all the fun, right?

Young Dougie Whooly certainly believes that’s the case. Rather than playing more wholesome video games such as The Sims, Angry Birds or SingStar, he’s obsessed with mastering one in which he takes on the guise of Satan’s little helper – its aim appears to be to kill or maim as many people as possible, with extra points gained if they happen to be young, old or infirm in some way. Nice.

Satan's Little Helper (2004) – Film Review coverOn Halloween, Dougie’s beloved elder sister Jenna returns home from college so she can take him trick or treating. However, her decision to bring with her Alex, her new boyfriend, goes down like a lead balloon.

“Naive enthusiasm”

Dougie storms out of the house and almost immediately spots someone setting up an amazingly convincing scary display on their front porch. He asks if the be-masked person is Satan, and is thrilled when they answer in the affirmative. From then on, the pair become best buddies, despite Satan’s refusal to speak.

But what Dougie hasn’t realised is that his new friend is genuinely evil, the corpse on the porch is real, and he isn’t living in his favourite video game. Instead, the villain has seemingly come from hell to wreak havoc in what is usually a quiet, picturesque small town – and although Satan begins carrying out his work in a rather lowkey manner, his violence is about to grow increasingly widespread, outlandish and public.

Originally released in 2004, Satan’s Little Helper is the brainchild of Jeff Lieberman, a writer-director who will be no stranger to genre fans thanks to his cult hits Squirm, Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn. However, those came out more than 30 years before this offering which, oddly, doesn’t feel as if it was made by a veteran; it has a naive enthusiasm about it and resembles the work of someone making their first professional product since leaving film school.

Unlike many horror movies, it mostly takes place in broad daylight, which somehow adds to the tale’s unsettling nature by suggesting that we’re not safe, no matter the setting or the time of day. It also has a satirical edge and lavish injections of jet black comedy.

Satan's Little Helper (2004) – Film Review

“Worth a look for horror fans”

But it’s not without its problems. The pace and tone are somewhat uneven, and there are some horribly cruel moments to endure. The performances are a tad annoying in places too. It’s good that Lieberman didn’t cast a cute Hollywood kid as Dougie, opting for the rather more ordinary looking Alexander Brickel instead, although he lacks some of the charisma needed to carry the role.

Amanda Plummer, the most recognisable member of the cast, is less than impressive as matriarch Merrill too; she’s a little too way-out and wacky to be believable.

Satan’s Little Helper is well worth a look for horror fans, just lower your expectations – it has more in common with the kind of cheap and cheerful TV movie Channel 5 might show than Halloween, The Shining or It.

Special Effects6
Bonus Materials:
● Audio Commentary from Director Jeff Lieberman
● Vintage Behind-the-Scenes Featurette
● The Devil and the Details: Making SATAN'S LITTLE HELPER
● Mister Satan's Neighborhood: A Tour of the Filming Locations with Director Jeff Lieberman
● Newly Translated English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired (English SDH)
● Promotional Trailer
Satan's Little Helper is released on Blu-ray by MVD

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.