“Helen’s Dead” is a murder mystery, but the real mystery is why anyone would want to be in this movie.


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“Helen’s Dead” General Information

Director(s) K. Asher Levin
Screenplay By Amy Brown Carver and K. Asher Levin
Based On N/A
Date Released (Video On Demand) November 3, 2023
Genre(s) Comedy

Crime

Mystery

Film Length 1 Hour, 24 Minutes
Content Rating Rated TV-MA
Noted Characters and Cast
Adam Emile Hirsch
Addie Dylen Gelula
George Brian Huskey
Leila Annabelle Dexter-Jones
Garrett  Oliver Cooper
Molly Beth Dover
Henry Tyrese Gibson
Helen Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz

Content Rating Explanation

“Helen’s Dead” is rated TV-MA due to profanity, some violence, and sexual content. 

“Helen’s Dead” Film Summary

This content contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Have you ever walked into a room where everyone was yapping about something, but you could never understand what they were yapping about? That’s “Helen’s Dead.” Even after watching the long, painful 84 minutes of “Helen’s Dead,” I can’t tell you what I watched or why it exists. From the bewildering beginning to the embarrassing end, “Helen’s Dead” struggles to be a comprehensive movie because it’s barely a story. 

“Helen’s Dead” starts precisely with what its title promises. A small group at a dinner party is shocked by the murder of a guest. It’s clever, intriguing, and immediately sets up a mystery. What follows is neither funny, comprehensible, nor intriguing.

The mystery movie shifts to the events before Helen’s murder and introduces too many rough-draft characters, all of whom are semi-connected to Helen. There’s Adam (Emile Hirsch), who’s cheating on his girlfriend Addie (Dylen Gelula) with her cousin, Helen. There’s aspiring successful actor Garrett (Oliver Cooper) who’s also obsessed with Helen. There’s an ominous caller named Henry (Tyrese Gibson) who seemingly threatens Helen’s life over the phone. Then there’s Helen’s sister, Leila (Annabelle Dexter-Jones), and her husband (Brian Huskey), who are throwing a dinner party to try to get good press from a journalist (Beth Dover).

They are all uninvited guests at this dinner party, but somehow they all meet at this party for barely plausible or downright unexplainable reasons. Leila wants nothing to do with Helen, but Helen’s there, and somewhere halfway through the movie, she’s dead. Each guest is suspicious of who killed her and what they should do about the body. Tensions rise, people get violent, and feelings come out because someone among them is clearly a murderer. 

“Helen’s Dead” is mostly contained in scenes in a single setting. This is the only impressive aspect of a movie that feels like it stretched its budget too thin, with unappealing lighting and sound issues throughout the production. There’s a fun, dark comedy seeded somewhere in the mess of the final product. But like its titular character, “Helen’s Dead” is dead-on-arrival with limp characters, a confusing story, and baffling production errors.

helens dead 1 scaled
From left to right: Dylen Gelula, Beth Dover, Emile Hirsch, Annabelle Dexter-Jones, Tyrese Gibson, Brian Huskey, and Oliver Cooper stand over Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz in “Helen’s Dead” (dir. K. Asher Levin, 2023)

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.

Adam

A narcissistic and squirmy man who is negligent of his girlfriend’s needs. Adam is more romantically interested in his girlfriend’s cousin, Helen, but Adam and his girlfriend are forced to be together at the dinner party turned murder mystery. 

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Into the Wild,” their role in “Speed Racer,” and their role in “The Engineer.”

Addie

Addie is/was a musician who feels constantly discouraged by her jerk boyfriend, Adam. When Adam accidentally texts Addie that he’s in love with Helen, Addie becomes determined to get vengeance on her old friend.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Dream Scenario,” their role in “Everything’s Fine,” and their role in “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.”

Leila

Leila is a social media influencer and Helen’s sister. Leila may seem to live a luxurious life with her husband, George, but anger and jealousy boil under Leila’s porcelain surface.

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “The Deuce,” “The Calling,” and “Succession.”

Henry

Henry is one of Helen’s ex-lovers and may also be a psychopath. Since Helen starts to ghost him, he plans to hunt her down. 

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Baby Boy,” their role in “Transformers,” and their role in “Fast X.”

Helen

Helen’s dead. 

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Rings,” their role in “Revenge,” and their role in “Reptile.”

“Helen’s Dead” Review

Our Rating: Negative (Acquired Taste)

helens dead 2

Low Points

Thinly Sketched Characters Limit Investment in Story

“Helen’s Dead” introduces a cast of characters who are relatively awful people with no redeeming traits. While a movie like “Clue” or “Knives Out” would have fun making these characters squirm, we don’t learn enough about anyone to be entertained or invested when their lives are at stake. The one-note characters spend most of the movie screaming and repeating themselves, until most end up dead.

Vague Understanding of Title Character Makes Core Mystery Boring

“Helen’s Dead” is occupied with the characters asking, “Who killed Helen?” But the audience doesn’t even know who Helen is. Why do people want her dead? Why should we care about her death? There isn’t much insight from flashbacks or characters discussing who she is. While we know that many men are obsessed with her, we never get to see why. So while a movie called “Helen’s Dead” delivers on its title, it can’t bother to give us more details or reasons to care. 

On The Fence

Technical Goofs Make “Helen’s Dead” Seem Like a Rushed Production

Characters who are meant to share the same scene are lit differently, some line readings sound muffled, and abrupt cuts all distract from the movie’s story and make me wonder, “How quickly did this need to get made?” While there’s something respectable about a quick film made on a small budget, “Helen’s Dead” appears as a movie racing to the finish line without caring about the details.

Who Is This For?

Fans of dark comedies, mysteries, or supporters of any of the actors might enjoy “Helen’s Dead.”

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Knives Out
  2. The Menu
  3. The Fall of the House of Usher

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

helens dead
Helen’s Dead (2023) – Review
Overall
“Helen’s Dead” is dead-on-arrival with limp characters, a confusing story, and baffling production errors.
Highlights
Disputable
Thinly Sketched Characters Limit Investment in Story
Vague Understanding of Helen Makes Core Mystery Boring
Technical Goofs Make “Helen’s Dead” Seem Like a Rushed Production
65

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