Wednesday, 11 February 2015


smiley is a film about a scary internet meme that turns out to be real and comes after a bunch of teens. except it's not really that. anyway, seeing as i'm being stalked by my own internet weirdo (check out the comments on this blog) i thought i'd check it out.

so the legend goes that if you're in a video chat and you type 'i did it for the lulz' three times, smiley comes to get you. the story follows ashley, a nerdy but nice college girl played by caitlin gerard. ashley falls in with a crowd of hackers and after discovering that the smiley legend is real she finds herself stalked by the killer himself.

the first half hour of this film is really strong. the kills made me jump and the premise is interesting. there are these philosophy lecture scenes in between the main storyline with roger bart, him off of hostel 2, being a creepy genius professor and through these scenes the film tries to be more than a run-of-the-mill slasher film. it tries to be a film about ideas, and you know how much i like those. there are lots of big questions in there, about the nature of evil and about how the internet ultimately represents the next evolutionary phase of humanity and our computers will eventually destroy us. these are great and almost slide into the main narrative, but it doesn't quite work as a whole.

the first problem is, once we've established that smiley is probably real and coming after ashley and her friends it kind of runs out of steam. the second act is mostly ashley trying to convince everyone she's not crazy, and that gets a bit dull after a while. the other problem is i guessed the twist twenty minutes in, and i never guess twists so it must have been heavily signposted. not just the twist, i guessed how the rest of the film was going to play out. it felt like the filmmakers had this great idea, but they didn't really have the confidence to fully commit to it, so the film really lags for about 45 minutes in the middle.

that said, there are still some really interesting ideas in smiley, caitlin gerard is fantastic in the lead and for the most part it is an enjoyable, if predictable ride. it's just a shame there wasn't more to it as this had the potential to be a really innovative horror film. maybe there will be a sequel.

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