Main cast: Kristen Quintrall (Claire), Denyce Lawton (Brandy), Christopher Jones (Ryan), JoJo Wright (Phil), Rachel Sterling (Anna), Black Thomas (Jordan), Dustin Harnish (Todd), Cameron Diskin (Brad), Braxton Davis (Steve), Rebecca Burchett (Chloe), and Dallas Lovato (Norah)
Director: Chris Stokes
The Helpers is another tale of stupid young people getting brutalized by weird and sadistic people in some backwood area of USA. The title is accurate in this instance: the people behind this movie certainly helped themselves to ideas and concepts from Saw, Vacancy, and Hostel. In fact, there is a sense that this movie tries to do everything those movies did, only to falter and ends up being none of those things.
For example, this one starts out pretending to be one of those handheld-cam movies, only to halfway switch to the more conventional mode of narrative. We have another creepy motel, only, this one doesn’t make sense because it is stocked and staffed like a Vegas bachelor party pad when it’s supposed to be in the middle of nowhere.
We have a bunch of stupid people that go on the road trip to Vegas, only to end up there due to the predictable flat tire problems, don’t think that there is anything suspicious when the folks there offer to do everything for free – providing lodging, changing the tires of a Yukon, free-flow drinks, lapdances… free, for six people. What, nobody is even a bit suspicious? They are the only ones surprised when these helpful people turn out to be sadistic types planning their deaths in gory technicolor.
Watching this movie, it feels like it simply emulates various torture movies without trying to put everything together in a way that makes sense. The scary bits aren’t imaginative and they have a half-baked feel to them, as if they have run out of ideas halfway, and it doesn’t help that the villains are played by folks who seem like doppelgangers of more established actors and celebrities out there. The two ridiculously chirpy blondes look like Carrie Underwood clones, especially.
Most unforgivable, though, is the way the “good guys” have a chance to escape, but the script for some reason decides that stupidity is such a wonderful thing. The surviving characters trust someone any idiot could see is in cahoots with the villain and, this is the best part, willingly go back to where they just ran away from and split up. Can you imagine what happens next? Of course, the survivors manage to get away – again – because the villains, until that point all-powerful and undefeatable, suddenly turn dumb. `
The Helpers, at the end of the day, could use considerable help itself. It’s a spectacularly unoriginal flick that happens to remind me how lacking it is compared to the films it is trying to emulate.