WHAT IT’S ABOUT:
There is no better feeling than that occasional time when I go into a movie thinking that it’s going to be awful and I walk away from it being pleasantly surprised. I’d read a few things about Smiley, none of them particularly good, but I found myself loving this movie for all the reasons that the critics panned it. Granted, I think it’s the kind of movie that only a child of the 90s can truly appreciate – it has the same kind of feeling that I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend and Scream had. Since those were the movies of my era, I thought Smiley was awesome for being able to capture that feeling, although I suspect it may fall a little bit flat with the kids of today. I would thoroughly recommend you watch this both for the 90s slasher vibe and for the fact that the whole movie is an elaborate tapestry of interwoven awkward moments that somehow come together to form a cohesive film. So many awkward moments, so little time…
Ah, college life. The beginning of adulthood where those years of toil and slog in high school finally pay off and you can begin to pursue a path of education that will help you become a productive member of society. Yeah, that was Ashley’s plan until approximately 3 minutes after she met her new housemate, Proxy, and then the training wheels came off in a big way. Proxy’s going to a party that’s been completely organised online by anonymous strangers, and she wants Ashley to go along. Ashley’s never done a bad thing in her life, or heard of a computer by the sounds of things, but she’s willing to give anything that good old college try. Drinkin’ them drinks and smokin’ that wacky tobacky…
At the little gathering is a small group of hackers, hacktivists, active hackers, hackers in training and a mild sprinkling of hipster hackers. From this group Ashley seems to learn her first urban legend – the one about Smiley. Now, Smiley’s a man who sowed his eyes shut and carved a smile into his face so he looks like a rather macabre emoticon. The legend is very similar to Bloody Mary, except this one involves the internet. If you go onto a video chat with a stranger, imagine Smiley killing them and type in ‘I did it for the lulz’ three times, Smiley will actually appear and commit the crime. But that’s just urban legend, right? Nobody actually believes this stuff do they?
Running with that thought, Ashley and Proxy decide to test it out and see what happens. After trolling the internet for the most revolting individual they can find, they tease him for a bit and then type in the fated words. Suddenly, a wild Smiley appears, uses knife stab and it’s super effective. This is understandably a little frightening for the girls, but how exactly do they go about reporting it to the police? It all seems a little bit strange, and it certainly doesn’t help that Ashley has a history of mental disorders. The only thing to possibly remedy this situation is more partying! But soon Smiley starts to break the rules of the game – instead of just going after people he’s sent to, he starts coming for those that did the sending, and Ashley needs to decide whether it’s her mind playing tricks on her or if something more sinister is at work.
LIFE’S LESSONS LEARNED:
- 12-year-old girls really shouldn’t be on sites where men take their pants off.
- Broadband has now reached a point where serial killers can download themselves into your house.
- Entire research teams are now looking into the intersection of the strange and the retarded.
- There’s about a 50/50 chance of either God or the Chupacabra actually being real.
- At some point all the internet’s evil is going to coalesce and manifest itself as a disfigured serial killer.
- There’s nothing quite like a roofied walk under the stars.
- Filing cabinets in academic institutions are there solely for the purpose of storing various types of booze.