HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Film Review: Internet Generation is Terrorized in Clichéd ‘Smiley’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
No votes yet
HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What if all the evil on the internet manifested itself into a supernatural being with the power to kill a la Candyman? Such is the relatively clever premise of “Smiley,” opening in limited release this week. It’s a modest, low-budget horror movie with some effective ideas and an engaging lead performance but it clutters itself down with too much dialogue about its title character and the very concept of evil being potentially brought to physical life. Every time that it feels like “Smiley” could become something interesting, it falls back into clichés. It’s a film about the next generation of horror villains that owes too much to the older ones.

The premise has a solid hook. People who spend way too much time online form a community around a Chatroulette service. Anonymity is a requirement for these people even though they get together and party. Videos start to circulate of members being killed by a masked figure. Are they real? The urban legend goes that if you type “I did it for the lulz” three times into the chat window, Smiley will appear behind whomever you are chatting with and gut them. It’s Candyman for the LOL generation.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Smiley” in our reviews section.

We have an entire generation now of teenagers who look skeptically at everything they see online. With so many fake videos out there, what’s real? Kids see a video of a murder online and think it’s fake. What if it’s not? It’s a clever idea—how a generation that doesn’t believe anything could be easily terrorized because they’ll laugh at the killer until he stabs them in the face. Sadly, the potential of this concept is weighed down by cliché and tonal inconsistency. When the killing gets intense in “Smiley,” the film threatens to have a clever angle (with funny lines like “I thought college was going to be fun”) but it’s not long before a damsel in distress is being stalked with jump cuts, music cues, and all that we’ve come to expect from a movie like “Smiley.” And when the movie’s not clichéd, it’s way too talky. There are extended scenes of discussion about evil, evolution, the internet, and how they could all come together to bring a movie monster to life. Don’t get me started on the dream sequences.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Smiley” review.

“Smiley” stars Caitlin Gerard, Melanie Papalia, Shane Dawson, Andrew James Allen, Roger Bart, and Keith David. It was directed by Michael J. Gallagher and opens in limited release on October 12, 2012.

Smiley
Smiley
Photo credit: Fever Productions

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.

Hot stories on the Web


User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing

TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Happy Christmas

    CHICAGO – “Drinking Buddies” director Joe Swanberg’s latest release of the same star wattage is “Happy Christmas,” an even lower-fi story than the Olivia Wilde beer comedy, steered even more by the casting that it was able to assemble. However, with this movie Swanberg doesn’t so much worry about having a story that could be confused with a more mainstream romantic comedy if it were to have a bigger budget.

  • reno 911 front.png

    CHICAGO – The oughts was the era of the workplace mock-doc comedy, with shows like “The Office” and “Reno 911!” born into a time where TV viewers were excited to see see fake realities about the crumminess of a job. While this series has been available in separate season collections previously, “Reno 911!” is now available in a complete series set, one that boasts a grand amount of special features content in spite of some lacking comedy in the actual show.

Advertisement


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter

archive

HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions
tracker