It might come from my background in working in movie theaters, but the whole culture of posters really fascinates me. Just the idea of trying to sell your movie in a space that’s 24″ x 36″ and the attempt to entice strangers to check out the film without cramming too much on there seems like a difficult balance to achieve. You might remember from when I reviewed Laid to Rest that really the only reason I watched it in the first place was based on the cover art of the mask and crossed knife things. Same thing can be said about Smiley, and even though I heard nothing but TERRIBLE things about it, the killer looks intriguing enough that I wanted to know more about what the hell was going on. Even though all of those people are right, through watching Smiley, I am at least reminded of how embarrassing it is to ever talk about anything that happened on the internet in real life.
I hope the production meetings on the mask design were just “So ya take an equals sign and part of a parenthesis and BOOM! YA GOT YOUR MASK!”
A lady in her underwear is using her computer’s webcam when her little sister comes in and tells her about the legend of Smiley. The story is that if you’re on webcam with someone then this Smiley guy will show up behind the person and kill them if you type, get this, “I DID IT FOR THE LULZ”. Yeah, we got less than five minutes into this movie before it used the word “LULZ”. Is that a word, or am I giving it too much credit by saying it’s a word? Anyways, the girl in her underwear has the theory tested on HER by the guy she was webcamming with, and she does indeed get killed by Smiley. The story then jumps to Ashley (Caitlin Gerard), a girl who has finally overcome her psychological hangups and is able to go to college! Yay! College! She ends up living with Proxy (Melanie Papalia) who wants to take her to some sort of internet party. No guys, she doesn’t mean a chatroom, she means a REAL party with people FROM the internet. Proxy then awkwardly explains what 4chan is, which is another thing I won’t give the credit of explaining, other than mentioning it’s a website for people who LOVE the internet. Ugh, I can’t believe this was only 15 minutes into this piece of shit.
HEY ACT SCARED OR HAPPY SURPRISED BECAUSE I DON’T REALLY GIVE A SHIT!
Now that the internet party has begun, people start talking about Smiley and that’s when we see that one guy enters the “LULZ” command and he was the guy who caused the girl to die in the opening. Ashley and Proxy kind of freak out and Ashley keeps thinking she’s being chased by Smiley and then it comes up that her mom is dead and that Ashley used to take lithium. Throughout most of the movie, we see a college professor, played by Roger Bart (that weird guy from Hostel II) about people being evil and the internet or some bullshit like that. Eventually, Ashley determines the only way to learn once and for all if Smiley is for real is to have Proxy type in the magic phrase, which she does, which is when Ashley is approached by multiple people wearing Smiley masks, freaking her out so much that she jumps out of a window. When the people unmask, we learn that all those people were at the internet friend party and all the people who had been “killed” by Smiley were in on it the whole time and faking it. They all end up using a bunch of internet terms and kind of explain that they want lots of people to kill each other and hope they end up encouraging Smiley copycats? Something like that? Holy shit this was dumb.
Oh what I wouldn’t have given for the camera to show Keith David’s computer after he had just smashed a bunch of letters on the keyboard like he did in his scene in Chain Letter.
Actually, ya know what? This movie wasn’t COMPLETELY terrible. Some of the ideas and concepts they were bringing up about the destruction of society and encouraging random acts of anonymous violence or whatever was somewhat interesting, but to only bring this up at the VERY end after suffering through garbage for 90 minutes was too little, too late. None of the characters were enjoyable to watch, the death scenes weren’t anything original, and even though Keith David was in a couple of scenes as a sarcastic police detective, he was SO sarcastic that I just don’t think the filmmakers even realized he was mocking them. And holy SHIT, all the garbage about 4chan and “b” and using LULZ or the term “Pedobear” was just ALL so fucking stupid. The whole time I was watching it, I thought I was watching a movie written and directed by someone from one of those websites to try to make it look really cool and obviously failing. By the end, the reveal of the master plan was so lame, I then felt like maybe the movie was made by people who HATED members of the internet communities, but cared so little at that point that it wasn’t even worth it. This movie is only BARELY above other garbage movies like Chain Letter or My Soul To Take, but just barely. If anyone can speak to whether or not the filmmakers think the internet is really cool or if they were making fun of those kinds of people, let me know. Until that’s explained to me, I know I won’t be smiling.
Wolfman Moon Scale