I find it a relieving feeling that I can continue to be surprised by my movie stack. I often buy by the title or covers alone, but I don’t remember where I managed to find this movie. Whether you believe me in saying that or not – and considering the season, I understand why – this film blindsided me with how much I enjoyed it in actuality and not in mockery or at its expense. Satan’s Little Helper is a genuinely enjoyable film and one I find hard discussing in detail like I normally do.
The reason I find it hard to discuss this movie, other than it’s religiously polarizing title, is my usual style involves dissecting a movie down to core elements and going into detail why they work and don’t work. A boon for when the subject of discussion is a horrible film that has more cracks in it than the average St. Cloud road, or for discussing a superb film in which proper praise cannot be given without discussing the plot or many elements that come together to make it superb.
So why am I stumped in talking about this movie? I think the main thing I can attribute my hesitance to is how I view the film’s sum of parts. The best way to illustrate this film’s sum is to imagine a very hectic game of Jenga, with only one block supporting a structure the size of a small one-story home. This means one element of this film holds this film together and supports it so damn well that I cannot be anything but impressed. I regard this movie very highly, but I am feeling conflicted because of the other elements in Satan’s Little Helper that would seemingly go against it.
I suppose my real aversion to discussing this movie comes is that it is one I genuinely don’t want to spoil. Then again, the plots of slasher and serial killer movies aren’t generally anything to write home about either. Regardless, I won’t go into much detail about the events that occur in this film; sans only to support my points. So let us get down to it, for it is time to introduce you to Satan.
No, not that Satan. This Satan wears a devil mask that easily fools children raised by the dumbest parents alive. The main characters are supposed to be a family with a kid whose name I have purposely forgotten, but the real star and the supporting block of this film is, “Satan.” Of course, one would hope that the killer in a slasher film would be the main draw, but I find I need to make a justification for this.
Now, I am not very well versed in classic slasher films. You can thank a childhood trauma involving a certain parent on a certain holiday with a hockey mask and plastic knife. Half-joke aside, I never really watched many of those classics, so feel free to drop me a line to correct me. Precedent stated I don’t think I have heard of a good slasher movie where the killer is seen throughout 90% of the film and is not kept a mystery to the audience. By “seen”, I don’t mean he’s seen via jump cuts or hiding in the background. Satan is often with the family we’re supposed to treat as the main characters and is having a jolly old time being with them.
You see, the kid whose name I don’t remember has befriended Satan on purpose; because he liked a video game that shares the film’s title. For a <12-year-old, he’s a ripe candidate for a psych ward block titled “File away forever”; as he’s wishing to cause misery and pain, frequently asking Satan to violently murder people, which he obliges. But the kid is also thinking that these murders are fake, which confuses me greatly. What the hell does this kid want? Frankly, I’d rather the kid imitate Satan and not talk.
That’s right, Satan does not talk throughout this movie. Instead, The Method in which he communicates is perhaps what allowed for this film to ascend to my favorites pile. That isn’t a capitalization error, the actor playing Satan, Joshua Annex is a terrific Method actor. The way he acts in his role makes you actually think that the mask he’s wearing is his actual face. You feel that the smug smile on the mask is his actual expression when he commands it. Every single motion of his body lends to either bringing legitimacy to the ‘role’ of Satan or as a humorous contrast, depending on the scenario. It truly is a sight to behold and is immensely impressive. He is menacing when he needs to be, and grimly funny as well. It’s Bloody brilliant. Makes me wish I could throw in an expletive when describing him.
As we bring the topic away from Satan, we can discuss where my confliction of film opinion begins. The other main characters are nothing to write home about. The mother appears to be on a heroin detox for the first half and is completely oblivious to her son’s potentially murderous naivety. Her older daughter is probably the only other character I like, and it’s not just for her costume. Unlike a lot of slasher films, she’s fairly logical, and the film has some development for her character detriments. She chews on her nails, and later in the film, she needs to rip plastic wrap off of someone, but can’t because she chewed her nails off. It was a nice touch. It’s too bad she fell for the killer’s certain trick twice at the end, especially when she witnessed it the first time. Hopefully, her boyfriend can walk it off.
If it weren’t for the fact that Satan is such a great visual treat in this movie, you’d not be able to suppress your wondering in how he’s able to pull off everything in this movie that he does. This movie relies too much on a town that seemingly has had a bomb of stupid drop on them, more than the usual slasher affair brings. I don’t know how high his body count is, but you’d think someone would have noticed the number of people missing because of Satan.
It is at this point that I remember that Satan evidently plays multi-plane chess. He’s a master manipulator, only needing the Halloween season on his side to Method his way to mass murder. It’s stupid. It’s entrancing. It’s morbid and brutal. It’s scary.
Give it a watch if you’re alone, or with friends, or with acquaintances. It’s the perfect addition to the lineup of any Halloween movie party. Why not invite that guy over there with the cool devil mask? He seems like a cool dude.