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Smiley (2012)

R  |   |  Horror  |  12 October 2012 (USA)
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 3.5/10 from 6,815 users   Metascore: 25/100
Reviews: 78 user | 65 critic | 8 from Metacritic.com

After discovering an urban legend of a demented serial killer, who has nothing but a carved 'smiley' on his face, a mentally fragile teen must decide whether she is going insane - or will be the next victim.

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dr. Jenkins
Steve Greene ...
DeStorm Power ...


Ashley goes to her new college while getting over the death of her mother. She meets some new people there including Binder ('Shane Dawson') while at a party and she learns about an urban legend of an online killer that has the nickname "Smiley" who can only be seen on the web and he apparently kills people after they type in "I did it for the lulz" three times. Soon after going to the party Ashley and her flatmate Proxy go online to test it out, with horrific results. She becomes paranoid and she starts to think she sees Smiley all over the place and feels that he may be chasing her, but how can that be if he is not real? Have they somehow released him from the internet? Written by Michael Hallows Eve

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The New Face of Fear



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, terror, language, some sexual references and substance use by teens | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

12 October 2012 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Face Da Morte  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Smiley is a parody of the urban legend "Bloody Mary" See more »


Just before Stacey is killed we see the entire chat log. The lines, "Too bad I have to kill you now" and (most importantly) the three lines of "I did it for the lulz" is gone as well. See more »


Zane: She fell on her head... and now she's dead... oh god... that rhymed.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the very end after the credits are done, Ashley wakes up! See more »


References The Truman Show (1998) See more »


Written by Steven Christopher Reker
Performed by People Get Ready
See more »

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User Reviews

The New Face of Failure
7 July 2013 | by See all my reviews

The poster for "Smiley" boasts the tag-line "The New Face of Fear" and honestly I did find Smiley's appearance unsettling the first time I saw the trailer. However, all feelings even vaguely related to fear immediately began to disappear less than 3 minutes into the film (more on that in a moment). Still, I give the film one star to stand as a personal reminder for that one moment in time Smiley seemed promising.

"Smiley" is not only bad, but it's exceptionally bad to such a fundamental degree in both film-making and writing that every problem is encapsulated in the phrase: "BAD BLANK 101". Bad acting, pacing, atmosphere, dialog, characterization, direction, cinematography, editing, and sound are all astoundingly present as if "Smiley" was the meeting place for the reunion of elements in hack film-making.

As a film alone the characters are painfully flat; the acting is atrocious and the main character acts like a being from another planet; the dialog is so bad it smells; every single one of the "scares" are some of the cheapest jump scares in modern horror (that's saying something); the pacing is slower than a slug; during the long-drawn out scenes of fundamental philosophical waxing from the college professor (Roger Bart) that same slug is glued to the floor; I will not spoil anything here because the ending still remains an incomprehensible mess that started in less than 3 minutes.

Two minutes and thirty-two seconds into the film is a jump scare by a little girl that is simply a soft then LOUD noise made for no other reason than hack writing. Get used to that because those are the only kind of "scares" in the entire movie. The problems really begin as the audience and babysitter are told by the little girl about an urban legend killer, the titular Smiley, a mysterious killer (in that he's never explained, we're just expected to take the horribly shoe-horned exposition from the little girl that Smiley is a well-known urban legend, yet the audience doesn't know; Gallagher just expects us to blindly accept this). How does the little girl know this? Who is she? If Smiley is based around the NOT-Chatroulette then is it an international urban legend? All of these questions are just a few examples of what I kept asking the film which gave me nothing in return.

Then the awful writing comes into play as the audience learns of how "Smiley" is summoned beginning the long endurance test that was this movie. The Smiley killer is summoned (ala Candyman) by typing out the phrase "I did it for the lulz" three times to someone on Not- Chatroulette causing Smiley (dressed in Michael Meyers' one piece jumpsuit) to sneak up behind the person you typed the message out to then stabs them in the back (with Ghostface's knife no less). Let that sink in. The killer is summoned through Chatroulette.

Now here's a quick lesson to future horror writers and filmmakers: if you want to create a new horror icon then its important to remember that often timelessness trumps modernity. Sure, technologically based horror movies can make some of the best in the genre (Ringu, Videodrome, Kairo, Christine, Poltergeist, etc) and there's nothing wrong with being hip to the now (if done right), but the technology has to age well and be recognized as being a staple of everyday life with the majority of the public and Chatroulette has not aged well at all. In fact, Chatroulette is stale and by having the killer revolve around such an unbelievably dated concept severely hurts the potentiality for the character only speeding along its inevitable fade into obscurity.

Smiley might as well have been summoned by wearing a haunted pair of Crocs. Of course Smiley might have appeared more if the characters were wearing haunted Crocs because Smiley rarely appears in his own film. The rest of the film is just awful acting, horrible dialog, and one middle- finger of an ending.

What else is there to say? Smiley is just all-around bad in every single way possible regarding filmmaking and writing dumbing down or ripping off intriguing concepts from far superior horror films to create a poorly-stitched together amalgamation of first year philosophy, general science, and psychology. The only amusement is watching Roger Bart trying to make "I did it for the lulz" sound ominous and if you want to see that I'm sure Youtube will provide for you.

20 of 22 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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