Directed by Jeff Lieberman
Guest post by Byron Alexander Campbell of The Year is Yesterday.
The movie so bad that even Heather Campbell, our intrepid bloggist, refused to touch it.
But how can any movie be bad when it’s so quotable? This 2004 horror comedy is funny in all the wrong places, with dialogue that might have been witty had it not been executed so poorly. “Does anybody here have fingernails!?” shouted in a moment of great distress; “I’m going to go find Satan…without you!” spoken in fatalistic anger; and the corker, coming at the film’s climax: “That man was Alex’s father… And Jesus is Satan!” Add in “Renaissance slut” Jenna’s incomprehensible “Olde English” accent and young Dougie’s total inability to recognize stranger danger, and what you’ve got is a scary funny little Halloween treat.
The premise is such: 3rd-grader Dougie Whooly, played by Alexander Brickel channeling the spirit of A Christmas Story’s Ralphie, is obsessed with a new video game in which players rack up points by inciting mischief and misery in service to Satan. Why his mother, Merrill Whooly (Amanda Plummer, in a role she will eternally regret) ever thought this constituted acceptable entertainment for a 3rd-grader, we will never know, although the fact that she spends the entire movie apparently stoned out of her gourd might offer a clue or three. (There’s also the detail that Dougie’s actor appears to be at least 12, so we can assume he’s been held back a few times.) He is creepily infatuated with his older sister, Jenna (Katheryn Winnick), who has returned from college to go trick-or-treating with her little bro, as she does every year. Unfortunately, she’s brought along her new boyfriend, Alex (Stephen Graham), who little Dougie views as competition. So the little moron goes hunting for Satan…”without you!”…and finds a demented, mute slasher who, for reasons unknown, decides to make the kid’s day by letting him tag along on what proves to be a surprisingly robust killing spree.
This is not a movie intended to give you chills; the scariest thing to be found in the daylit digital footage is the fact that little Dougie will be a registered voter in a few short years. Throughout the course of the movie, he makes a series of decisions and declarations that might have been excusable coming from a child half his age. His continued assurance that “Satan’s” actions are part of some elaborate game cooked up solely for his amusement provide for some triple-facepalm-worthy scenes, including teaching the masked killer how to enter the Whooly household secretly via the cellar, ordering him to “get” Jenna’s new boytoy, and helping him run over elderly and pregnant women with a shopping cart (“Bonus points!”).
The idiocy begins in earnest after the true gravity of the situation is revealed, however; despite being given strict orders not to open the door for anyone, Dougie lets a suspiciously silent masked “Jesus” into the house when the savior arrives right after the little dickwad finishes praying to God for absolution and protection. His reasoning? “God could come as a trick-or-treater.” Whoops! That’s not stigmata, kid! At least he wouldn’t make the same mistake a third time…oh, wait. The ending shocker must be seen to be believed (though if you’re like Dougie, you’d believe anything).
If all you’re expecting is a budget black comedy in the vein of Troll 2, Satan’s Little Helper makes for an enjoyable viewing experience. It strikes a nice balance between “so bad it’s funny” and genuinely funny, with Satan Man’s gleeful pantomiming performance helping to hold it all together. I’ll give it two digits pointing straight to Heaven.