Friday, September 2, 2016

Smiley (2012)

Welcome back to Horrorfest, you beautiful bags of meat. Now we're going to shift our focus from a classic to something a bit newer. In truth, that is what this movie was aiming for: to come off as a new fresh take on horror and utilize modern technology in such a way as to pull in a young audience. Hell, they even threw in a bunch of YouTubers in the film to help get people interested. And what's the concept? An emoticon killer. Hmmm...

Although, I will freely admit that I came to watch Shane Dawson die. He's just really annoying.

So, here's the thing: this movie had hype. It was being touted as this new psychological horror film that was going to turn the slasher genre on its head and really stand out. I mean, the idea of a slasher using the internet was totally new, right? Well....no, not really.Actually, we got two slasher movies about killers stalking people while utilizing internet and the like back in 2009 with Laid to Rest and Chain Letter, so if anything this movie was kind of behind. The truth of it is though that the entire idea of it being behind is actually way too true of pretty much everything. But we'll talk about that as we get to it. Let me just open up AIM and let's get this thing rolling, because there is literally no one on AIM.

I guess Smiley killed it. Or Skype did. Whatever.
The movie starts out with a babysitter getting jumpscared while texting by the kid she's supposed to be watching while the camera pans over her ass. I am beginning to get a feeling about this movie and I must admit it's not a good one. As if on cue, we go from that loud noise jumpscare (because seriously, the noise is the only thing that would make you jump) to the little girl on Chat Roulette. Yes, Chat Roulette. You remember that, right? The thing that wasn't even really popular any more when this movie came out? Yep, and the movie's crappy knock-off of it doesn't even have sound, meaning that it's even more outdated. Glad to see the movie's hype about being new and fresh is holding up so well.

Just like this building. It's holding up wonderfully, right? Right?
Well, there's no point in dragging this out, let's get on with this. The little girl regales the babysitter with the "legend" of Smiley. Apparently, when in a video chat, if you type "I did it for the lulz" three times, a man with a face carved into a smiley emoticon shows up to kill the person you're chatting with. Wow, I wonder if she'll do something dumb like go onto the video chat after she's done babysitting and tempt fate. Oh wait, this movie opened up on her ass, right? Yeah, she's probably gonna die. What a truly dramatic twist.

Dammit, it's not a real twist! Get out of here, you hopped up director!
And Smiley is looking...not really creepy there. What is that, a stocking mask? Alright, considering the poster and the little girl both promised us a killer with a carved up visage, that's very underwhelming. But hey, so is this opening, so at least it's being consistent. From that nonsense, we go to some more as we meet our actual lead, Ashley, a naive girl who doesn't seem to know what anything is. Seriously, my dad isn't a massive computer expert and he knows more about literally anything than this character. But Ashley isn't our only dingbat to be saddled with, as she has a new roommate who may take the award for single most irritating horror movie character ever, Proxy.

Because that's a computer term and this movie is totally hip with computer stuff and not at all dated.
There is literally nothing likable about Proxy. She grates on my nerves in a way that shocks me, basically existing as this horrible bitch who seems to think she's better than others because she's into fucking "1337 $p34k" and is "edgy" because of that. And yeah, that's going to be true for a lot of the people she knows too, but we're not stuck with them for the whole movie. Anyfuck, she's going to a party full of people from the internet...and I mean that, because this is where the YouTubers thing comes in mostly, and Ashley ends up coming along for the ride. It's a good thing too, because now Proxy can teach her about important internet stuff, like 4chan.

It's only the freshest internet memes for this movie.
After Ashley smokes some pot on the way there and shows the audience that she doesn't behave like an actual human being, we get to the super exciting party of terrible people who only know one another via the internet yet all seem to live close enough to a party rather easily. Here's we meet two important people...well, important to this movie, anyway. Zane, the host of the party, who has douche stamped so hard on his forehead so hard that I can literally smell the chemical solution whenever he's on screen. The other character is Binder, a guy who everyone belittles and calls pedobear...because he reported pedophilic material. So, this movie makes references but it doesn't actually understand them, is that it? Because how the living fuck does him reporting child pornography get him the nickname Pedobear? You know what? I don't care.

Here's your movie, I guess. Choke on it.
I'm so tired of this movie. I could be doing something useful right now, like napping, but here I am talking about something that was outdated before it even finished being made. Moving forward, we see the guy who was chatting with babysitter earlier playing the Smiley game on Not-Chat Roulette, and thus Ashley gets to learn about the idiotic story. Hell, who cares? She should be less worried about emoticon killers and more worried about being in a room with more than one likely rapist. Especially when you consider she got messed up from one joint like she just did something actually hard. but, of course, all this nonsense is just to set it up so Ashley and this group can come into some sort of conflict because they think seeing someone die on video chat is funny and she's weirded out by it. Oh, I know! They should give her a new nickname that doesn't make any sense! That'd be so funny.

Fuck this movie for trying to make Shane Dawson sympathetic. The guy made a career out of wearing blackface.

Oh yeah, and the person they watch get killed? Yeah, it's that babysitter from earlier, so we've come full stupid...I mean circle...no...no, I mean stupid. It's nice how they show us that the guy at the computer can turn and look at everyone too while the camera on the computer still shows him looking at it. Top notch work from director Michael Gallagher right there, who claimed his mentioning 4chan resulted in threats from people from there. Now, on the one hand I won't claim there is a lot of maturity over there. It's a madhouse and I myself was once a part of it. But the folks over there also would probably openly mock this whole thing more than they'd consider it worth attacking anyone over. The working theory is that Gallagher made the whole thing up to get more attention for the film and...yeah, I can believe that quite easily. Because this whole movie honestly plays out like a cry for attention.

And here we are, giving it attention.
Let's just try to speed this along, alright? I can feel the bile burning the back of my throat and I need to get this done before I get cancer there as a result. Our two idiots decide to try the Smiley game at home, get shocked when it works, and a man dies. Proxy acts like a horrible bitch in general, which means she hasn't really changed at all. Ashley dreams about Smiley and thinks he's stalking her, because I guess he likes dumb blondes who can handle their weed. Keith David is in this movie, because sometimes good actors find themselves in awful pieces of shit. He's a cop that Ashley goes to about the whole thing and is zero help, claiming that they aren't going to waste time on something like this. Okay, bullshit, because regardless of whether the police believe it or not, they have to investigate all claims of murder and allegations of stalking. That's why it's such a big deal when someone makes that shit up "for the lulz", as it wastes time. But hey, the director is barely doing his job, so why should the cops?

"He's not wrong."
Add onto all of this the fact that she goes onto Not-Chat Roulette and manages to actually find fucking SMiley and has a little conversation with him. Wow. So, Ashley is being dismissed as crazy, she's surrounded by assholes, her romantic interest is Shane Dawson, and her roommate is the most irritating human being I have seen on film. Speaking of the black-haired burden, she freaks out because Zane might be dead. This leads Ashley to go over to his house where we get a follow-up to an earlier scene that showed he purchased a handgun for protection. Did it work? Well, if he wanted to protect himself from Smiley by dying via gunfire, then sure, it worked great. Showing a bit more intelligence than many girls in these films, she picks up the gun and has Proxy do the "I did it for the lulz" thing to bring Smiley to her. But he doesn't come, resulting in her shooting her Pedobear.

"Did you...just hear...that...Imogen Heap song...?"
But hey, no time to grieve over useless characters, because Smiley shows up to slit his throat and pursue her back into the house. And hey, he brought clones! Yay. So, what does our brave heroine do? She crashes through the window and dies. Then comes the big moment, the big reveal of what this has all been about as the Smiley killers all unmask as Zane, Proxy, and dead babysitter. Even Shane Dawson there is alive. It seems this whole movie was just one giant elaborate prank and that they find nothing funnier than the result being her death. Why? Because apparently they're an offshoot Anonymous and that explains everything.

This isn't disappoint in them killing her but is rather disappointment that Shane Dawson didn't actually die.
The movie closes out as Zane and Proxy discuss the death of Ashley, neither really seeming to feel any guilt over what happened, and then the movie decides to at least free us of one of these horrid people. Smiley...the real fucking Smiley...shows up an kills Zane as Proxy watches. And we get to see that it is clearly not a mask this time, meaning this is an actual thing and it's probably angry because they were all pretending to be it, meaning Anonymous won't have to deal with these asshats for much longer.

"I'll see you all in the sequel I'll never be getting."
This movie was fucking horrendous. Not in an offensive way, but in a so terrible from concept to execution that I am seriously contemplating writing a long letter to the distributor to demand that everyone who had to watch this be given a free meal. Why? Because if you're gonna get fucked this badly, you should at least get dinner out of it. This was a movie full of awful acting, unlikable characters, atrocious writing, and it really only gave us a single scene of the titular killer, leaving the audience stiffed on seeing even that. And worst of all, I didn't get to see Shane Dawson get viciously stabbed to death!

"Sorry about that, bro."
If there's anything positive I can say about this whole thing, it's that the Smiley makeup itself looks alright. In a better movie, Smiley might've been an interesting slasher villain. In here though? He's just too little too late and I am left feeling irritated and hollow. I do not recommend this movie on any level and I hope Michael Gallagher never subjects anyone to another of these shitfests again. It was worth the time, the effort, or the film. Pass on Smiley and go watch a better slasher movie instead. it won't be hard to find one, as pretty much all of them are better than this. And Shane Dawson, if you read this and are offended by my not really liking you and the fact that I really wanted to see you get stabbed to death...don't sweat it, man. I only did it for the lulz. Later days, bleeders.

"I'm sorry, do you want some of this jam? It's a bit runny but damn is it tasty."

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