Black cats and Goblins on Halloween night
SATAN’S LITTLE HELPER
“Your house is next.”
Director/Writer: Jeff Lieberman / Cast: Katheryn Winnick, Alexander Brickel, Stephen Graham, Amanda Plummer, Wass Stevens, Dan Ziskie, Melisa McGregor, Joshua Annex.
Body Count: 15
Laughter Lines: “His ass is fuckin’ grass!”
Pre-teen geek Dougie (Brickel) is obsessed with the titular computer game, and looks forward to finding Satan when trick or treating on Halloween with his big sister, who has returned from college with her new boyfriend, much to Dougie’s annoyance.
Peeved, he wanders around town on his own and encounters a masked figure propping up bodies on their porches and lawns – but not real ones, right? Dougie believes he’s found Satan and asks the muted maniac if he can be his helper for the night. As the naive accomplice to the loon, Dougie laughs along as Satan dishes out more tricks than treats on the unsuspecting residents of the town.
Confusion as to who is under the mask takes up a lot of attention: Big sis Jenna thinks it’s her actor boyfriend just really getting into the part while Dougie thinks his new friend is just playing it all for laughs. This makes for a good moment when Jenna realises there’s someone else entirely behind the mask.
Satan’s Little Helper comes across like a combo of Uncle Sam and Office Killer – fun in the moment, but nothing you’ll go out of your way to recommend. Lieberman – who wrote and directed Just Before Dawn back in ’81 – wisely goes for the ribs rather than the jugular, so’s to avoid an accusations of pandering to Halloween, and the largely likeable cast assist in making it a fun little experience (sans the murder of a cute cat).
Plummer is a hoot as the kids’ nutty mom, and Winnick is a good final girl, though her little brother is required to seek new depths of stupidity from time to time to prop up the contrived nature of ‘Satan’s’ killing spree, but it doesn’t really harm the film, which is polished off with an unsurprising but inoffensive twist, successfully book-ending it with the kind of unexplained finality that normally sinks other straight-to-video productions.