Seven friends on a road trip to Las Vegas break down near a rest-stop motel, where they encounter a seemingly helpful group of people. Convinced to stay overnight, the friends wake up in their rooms to a gruesome and bloody terror.
If horror film plots have taught us anything over the years, it’s that the more psyched you are for your road trip, the more likely you are to find trouble.
A group of sexy, rowdy friends set off to party it up in Vegas, and boy, are they stoked. Sadly, the fun is short circuited when they mysteriously blow out not one, but two tires on their ride. Luckily, they locate a combination bar/truck stop/motel run by some very “helpful” folks indeed. These folks are so helpful, in fact, that they offer to fix the car, give them overnight hotel rooms AND let them party hardy at the bar for free.
The travelers, stoked about their unbelievable fortune, get a jumpstart on their weekend and fete it up with their new found helper buddies.
However, nothing comes for free in this world, and the friends soon learn this lesson the hard way, when they wake up the next day with severe memory loss and serious trouble in the form of being held captive in their motel rooms.
The strangers kindness was a ruse, it seems, and with the dawn comes the revelation of their true colors. The helpful strangers are in fact a rag tag group of psychos with deep ties to one another who are determined to torture and toy with our hapless, helpless travelers.
The Helpers of the film are guilty of many crimes-kidnapping, assault, etc, but what is interesting is that the film itself is guilty of several counts of robbery. This film steals from a dizzying array of horror films-”The Devil’s Rejects”, “ Vacancy”, and “Saw” to name a few. It even kills one character in the exact same manner that a character is killed in the remake of “The Hitcher”.
Despite high production values, this is an ugly film. It tries so hard to be shocking, and is so pleased with its attempts, despite being utterly unoriginal, that its grinning arrogance is almost unbearable to look at.
The back story of the shared history of “The Helpers” and their expressed motives for their endless existence of capture and kill is such a heavy handed one and such a pointless one that its a wonder why it was written in the first place..it certainly does nothing to advance the merit of the film.
One of the big problems with this film is one seen in many horror films. That is, that the victims are not interesting or sympathetic enough to care about, and the villains are too cartoonishly screechy and badly rendered to be afraid of. With neither sides providing anything worthwhile, the film becomes a pointless and painful exercise in futility, punctuated by moments of recycled violence.
it is interesting to note that this film gives ammunition to the argument that horror films often negatively portray women. All of the female characters in the film prance around in skimpy clothing, little more than boy accessories, who become literal meat for the butchers that surround them. Not one of them expresses an intelligent thought, using their mouths instead for drinking, screwing, screaming, crying hysterically and espousing riveting dialogue about how they want to be P*rn stars (I’m totally serious).
Whatever your take on the ongoing debate about gender portrayal in horror, it’s hard not to cringe at the ladies of “The Helpers”. Yes, men too are brutalized in the film, but, the way the camera lingers on the tortured bodies of the women is questionable.
Ultimately, this is an existential film, as in, it makes you ponder why it exists at all. If this film were a person, it would be someone that thinks they are more intelligent and creative than they actually were. You’d probably avoid that type of person, and should apply that same principle to this film.
The Helpers (2012)