Tuesday, October 9, 2012

smiley culture.

This dropped thru' my mailbox this weekend so having sod all else to watch now Doctor Who has finished I reckoned I'd give it a try.

Tho' why anyone would want to update the classic 1952 version with Ralph Richardson is beyond me.

I'll warn you in advance tho', if you're over 12 years old you might need a glossary of all the cool 'webspeak' used in the film as most of it is nonsensical.

These youngsters eh?

 Smiley (2012).
 Dir: Michael J. Gallagher
Cast: Caitlin Gerard, Melanie Papalia, Shane Dawson, Andrew James Allen, Toby Turner, Roger Bart, Keith David, Liza Weil, Jana Winternitz, Nikki Limo, Michael Traynor, Darrien Skylar, Richard Ryan, Jason Horton, Elizabeth Greer and Patrick O'Sullivan.

"I did it for the lulz"


Fake tanned and glassy eyed teen temptress Stacy (Limo wearing what looks like a pair of spray on shorts) is preparing to spend her evening babysitting the bunny toothed blonde poppet  Mary (Korn cover star and ex Heroes baddie Skylar) whilst her dad (a frighteningly poppy eyed performance from the pedo-faced, pube haired Traynor of Tales from the Catholic Church of Elvis! fame) is out doing something utterly unwholesome.

Probably.

Chatting about internet dating, guys they like and online masturbation (as 10 year olds and their babysitters do) little Mary mentions the famous urban legend pertaining to the sinister 'Smiley'.

Stacy is intrigued.

Well I say intrigued but I can't really tell seeing as her reaction consists of stiffly raising an eyebrow. Could be intrigued, could be irritable bowel syndrome.

Anyway it seems that the whole thing started on the (in)famous 4chan bulletin board a few months back, someone (was it you?) reported that whilst surfing an anonymous chat site they'd decided to type the phrase "I did it for the lulz" 3 times.

For no apparent reason it seems.

Apart from for the lulz obviously.

Sitting back to enjoy their chat-mates confused reaction they were horrified to see a bawl headed black clad bastard appear behind them and slit the unfortunate lulz receivers throat.

Which is nice if a little unexpected.

"You mean Jim CAN really fix it for me?"

Explaining to her young charge that stuff like that doesn't really happen, especially on 4chan where everyone is way too obsessed with lusting over ginger Disney jailbait Bella Thorne to notice any killings, possibly - I've only ever visited the site once and that was for research purposes.

Mary is understandably upset to find this out but soon perks up when she discovers that the rumours of fat middle-aged men wanking furiously over web-camming pre-teens is actually a fact.

Kids today eh?

Anyway once Mary is settled into bed our bouncy babysitter decides to relax by spending the evening online chatting to strangers.

You can see where this is going can't you?

Stacy prepares to let Jeremy Forest park his bike.

 Scrolling past the freaks, fatties and self flagellants she comes (not literally) across a bespectacled geeky guy with whom she excitedly starts chatting.

By chatting I mean typing shite like "Oi speccy!" and "Fuck off fours eyes!" which as readers of this blog know is normal behaviour for pretty and popular girls because they don't even try to be nice because they are all EVIL.

Especially you Belinda Maine who cruelly snubbed me at the end of term Christmas dance in 1986, leaving me standing outside as you waltzed in with Barry from the football team.

Pity the week after he was run down by that stolen car and never walked again wasn't it?

Do you remember how all your friends laughed at me?

I've not forgotten.

I still visit their graves.

Class of '86, unfortunately some of them died. I didn't do it. Belinda is on there somewhere. Can you spot her?


 But I digress.

Her smiles quickly turn to frows tho' when our glasses wearing goon types "I'm sorry but I'm going to kill you", and when Stacy asks why he would say such a thing he answers almost immediately by typing - you guessed it - "I did it for the lulz".

 Three times.

Suddenly and without warning (if you discount the stabbing violins on the score obviously) a black clad figure wearing a giant crudely carved potato on his head and carrying a large knife appears behind Stacy and violently stabs her.

To death.

Cue titles if you please.

Yup, still on the same movie. Just checking.


Enter (oh go on then) our heroine for the duration of this movie, a shy, oh so fragile and slightly unstable (in the nicest possible way) girl named Ashley (Gerard best known as Jan from teevee's Vanessa and Jan) who is not only struggling with starting College but also with coming to terms with her mothers suicide.

The poor lamb, carrying so many cliches on such tiny shoulders.

Reckoning that a house share would be better than living alone in the cramped halls of residence, Ashley moves in with the groovily attired yet squint of mouthed rich girl Proxy (Endgame's Papalia, channelling early Tracey Ullman for some reason), the pair become fast friends (well the movie is only 90 minutes long) culminating with Proxy dragging Ashley along to a hip 'n' happening start of term 4chan party organized by local rich geek cum hacker cum floppy fringed fuck Zane (Allen with his patented Pretty in Pink era James Spader impersonation and a dressing gown).
And yes, that's as annoying as it sounds.

"How'd you fancy a wee bit o' girl on girl mooth shite-in?"

Nervous at hanging out with all the cool people (and various overweight and neck-bearded extras found online) Ashley starts to chat to a greasy wigged mumbler named Binder (interweb star Dawson most famous for putting a video of his dying grandmother online whilst having a shit haircut) but just as the conversation is getting interesting the other cooler members of the party start throwing beer cans at him whilst shouting "Pedobear!" in his general direction.

Contrary to popular belief tho' this doesn't mean that he's a forest dwelling beast that preys on young children but that he is, in fact a good man who reports all kinds of badness that naughty boys post on 4chan. 

Storming huffily out of the party and leaving a trail of grease from his hair the attendant dudes and dudettes are left with no-one else to take the piss out of, leaving the speccy one to decide it'd be a great idea to freak someone out in an internet chatroom.

And how will they achieve this?

Go on, guess.

Finding an innocent victim in the shapely form of a babysitter named Stacy, our short sighted stud begins to type.

Hey...Isn't this where we came in?


"Laugh now!"


The sudden online stabbing of a big boobed brunette whilst everyone watches kinda ruins the party atmosphere for the guests so Zane sends everyone home whilst he stands around looking into the middle distance surround by beefy types saying things like "Whoa dude" and "That was radical!" a lot.

But give them their dues, this is probably the only time they'll ever appear on film outside gay porn.

Anyway, arriving home after the party Ashley and Proxy are still unsure about what they've seen.

Was it real or fake?

Well there's only one way to find out and that's to go online to try it for themselves.

 Managing to find one of the less fit guys from the party Ashley begins to type "I did it for the lulz"...

More stabbing and a wee bit of throat slashing follows.

And then Smiley appears to wave at our mentalist Missy.

As if he could see her.

Creepy, probably.

Becoming even more paranoid than usual Ashley begins to think she's being stalked by the spud faced slasher, seeing him everywhere from college to her bedroom.

But how can can that be possible if he's only an urban legend? 

Has the fear of Smiley somehow released him from the internet and made him flesh?

Well potato but you know what I mean.


Insert cock here.


With the death count rising but no bodies for the police to find it's a race against time for Ashleyas she desperately tries to find the secret of Smiley.

Will she succeed or has she had her chips?


Smiley: Made.



Fuck knows who director Michael J. Gallagher had to blow to get this greenlit but one things for sure, he must give fucking good head if the budget - a rumoured $13 million -  of this, his first feature is anything to go by.

That's not to say that it isn't slickly made or fairly enjoyable (which it is) but it's so throwaway and ultimately silly that you begin to wonder if the title character came first and the plot was hastily scribbled around it.

But who am I to talk, this is on the big screen whilst Anne Frankenstein is still languishing on someone's shelf.

Anne Frankenstein: Shelf.


Anyway, enough bitterness (for now), take a deep breath and back to the review.

Probably best known (and then only in the States) for his Youtube comedy series, Totally Sketch, Gallagher alongside his co-writer, the fantastically monikered Glasgow Phillips (director of Undead or Alive: A Zombedy) have taken a fairly generic slasher movie idea but attempted to give it a modern twist via the use of the internet and all it entails; from memes to 4chan via Chatroulette and throwaway mentions of Pedobear, the film is aimed fairly and squarely at the imageboard generation.

Who, in turn utterly hate the thing for seemingly trying too hard to be hip.

If Smiley does indeed turn up on 4chan then Gallagher would do well to unplug his computer seeing as his house will be the first place the /b board will send him.


Cock and balls....never touched the sides.


Which is a shame because as I've said the film is enjoyable enough and doesn't outstay it's welcome.

It's just in hindsight that you realize that it doesn't do much else either.

And any goodwill you do have for it is pissed away by the highly implausible and frankly ludicrous ending which does nothing but cheapen any suspense built up in the previous 80 minutes.

Gallagher: fancy trainers, sucky lips.


It's not all bad tho', the cast, when not looking like other more famous people aren't too bad and there's sterling back up from the likes of the permanently grumpy  Keith David and Roger Bart's almost panto-esque Professor Clayton, it's almost as if they flow him in straight from summer season in Blackpool.

And the movie is all the better for him.

Kudos also to the waif-like Caitlin Gerard who imbues the whole thing with a sense of seriousness and urgency unseen since the heady days of  Heather Langenkamp and Amanda Wyss.

Which trust me was a long, long time ago.

Smiley: Culture.


And whilst it's no Nightmare on Elm Street it never plummets down to the abysmal levels that Scream did which is no bad thing I guess.

Damning with faint praise?

Absolutely.

But when it comes down to it so-so is always preferable to utter bollocks any day and if you're one of those people that suffer from Potnonomicaphobia then this may just be the most frightening film ever made.

1 comment:

MrJeffery said...

thanks for the review was curious about it... looks watchable enough. most new horror has disappointed me lately.