Somebody Help Me is a smart take on classic horror films, and although it does have some issues, those issues are minor when compared to the film as a whole.
The plot revolves around Brendan Young (portrayed by singer/actor Marques Houston, who had roles in You Got Served, Fat Albert, and the television shows Cuts and One on One, as well as Sister, Sister and A Different World) and Darryl Jennings (portrayed by singer/actor Omarion Grandberry, who also had roles in You Got Served, Fat Albert and the television shows Cuts and One on One). The pair head off with friends and their respective girlfriends for a weekend stay at a remote cabin in the woods to celebrate the birthday of one of the girlfriends.
While the rest of the film features mostly new faces, Jessica Szohr, who plays one of the girlfriends, does stand out, having had prior roles on Gossip Girl, CSI: Miami and What About Brian.
The film, directed and written by Chris Stokes (writer and director of both You Got Served and House Party 4) boasts strong writing, and manages to poke a little fun of both itself and the genre in general through lines such as: “We’re a bunch of black folks in this white town, we don’t want to scare everybody,” and “What’s the worst that could happen?…I’m not trying to find out!”
In addition to the snappy dialogue, the use of music in the film is also noteworthy. From the get-go, there are cool opening camera shots and great music, and this is just during the opening credits. In fact, throughout the film, classic “scary movie music” is used to build tension.
While using one of the most relied on horror film setups, in which young people plus sex equals death, Somebody Help Me also flips the scripts, killing off Caucasians and leaving the African American players as the heroes of the story.
Although the peripheral roles are a bit overacted, particularly the role of the town sheriff, the main characters in the film all exhibit good acting skills, playing their parts without overdoing it, as well as exhibiting natural, effortless acting — a nice thing to see in a lower-budget horror film.
With a running time of 99 minutes, Somebody Help Me is presented in English 5.1 audio and an aspect ratio of 1:85 letterbox. No subtitles are available.
Somebody Help Me is scary when it needs to be and funny and smart the rest of the time. Yes, there are the obligatory horror movie clichés, but all in all it’s a good film that’s entertaining and worth a look.
And for those who dislike nature, the moral of the film is right up your alley: Always choose spending your birthday in Vegas, not the woods!