US 2012, 90m, Level 10 Films
Blu-Ray: Signature Entertainment (UK)
There is an urban legend of a demented serial killer, who has a "smiley" carved in an otherwise featureless face. The legend says that if you are chatting online with someone via webcam and type in "I Did It For The Lulz" three times, he will appear and kill the person at the other end. When college student Ashley and her roommate Proxy test out the theory, it appears not to be a myth after all...
The result of a group of YouTube users getting together to create an independent horror movie, Smiley hits UK Blu-Ray. With a more literate script than your average slasher flick, it's enjoyable enough purely on that level. However, it's possibly just as much a satire of an internet obsessed culture, taking sideways swipes at everything from internet security firms and hacker groups to online trolls and web chat rooms. Whilst initially unsure about the film's approach at the beginning, I found myself warming to it considerably as it progressed. The dialogue of the leads does seem somewhat forced at times, but at the denouement you may understand why. I certainly don't want to give the game away.
If perhaps more a collection of good individual scenes than a good movie per se, it's still quite an achievement considering its genesis, and more than worthy of your time. It seems to have gotten a pretty hostile reception elsewhere, but I personally found it quite refreshing yet enjoyably old fashioned at the same time. Perhaps using internet channels to get your film made, using those same channels to build up a following for the movie, and then biting the hand that feeds you is going to make you enemies... For my own part, I feel like I'm in on the joke.
Original Theatrical Trailer