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Smiley (2012)


Average Rating: 3.5/10
Reviews Counted: 22
Fresh: 4
Rotten: 18

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 3.2/10
Reviews Counted: 6
Fresh: 1
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 6,406


Movie Info

After learning of an urban legend in which a demented serial killer named "Smiley" can be summoned through the Internet, mentally fragile Ashley (Caitland Gerard) must decide whether she is losing her mind or becoming Smiley's next victim. -- (C) Official Site

R (for violence, terror, language, some sexual references and substance use by teens)
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Feb 11, 2013
Fever Productions - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Smiley

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (4) | Rotten (18)

The storytelling gets repetitive, but there is enough here to make Smiley feel fresh and more or less satisfying as a low-key creeper.

Full Review… | October 17, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

This remainder-bin horror movie is impossible to take seriously.

Full Review… | October 11, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

Internet chat rooms provide the dubious hook for this generic slasher movie.

Full Review… | October 11, 2012
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

This film will not do for the Internet what Psycho did for showers-no more computers have to be smashed because of it.

Full Review… | October 11, 2012
AV Club
Top Critic

[A] by-the-numbers slasher pic.

Full Review… | October 10, 2012
Top Critic

Smiley's face, or lack of one, is the single creepy effect in the limited trick bag of first-time writer-director Michael Gallagher, age 24, who otherwise relies, again and again, on false-scare musical shrieks to make audiences jump.

Full Review… | October 9, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

Think Candyman for the Twitter generation.

Full Review… | November 25, 2013
Total Film

While it's easy to appreciate Gallagher tackling the fruitful subject of Internet urban's a scratch on the surface. Maybe he's just looking to get the ball rolling, but Smiley is likely to be buried in the bargain bin.

Full Review… | March 14, 2013
The Playlist

Feels like a late-arriving film class homework assignment that the students didn't really care about.

Full Review… | February 12, 2013

It's amazing what a killer mask and a smarter than expected ending can do to a mediocrity like Smiley

Full Review… | February 11, 2013
Big Hollywood

A thunderously stupid horror movie of slapdash construction and ping-pong tonalities.

Full Review… | February 7, 2013

A genre failure on every conceivable level...

Full Review… | January 14, 2013
Cinema Crazed

Mostly it fails, due in large part to the poor acting, low production values, and a weak script that bogs down what might otherwise have been an interesting film.

Full Review… | October 15, 2012
Paste Magazine

YouTube transplant Gallagher's freshman effort is doggedly formulaic -- his blood-smeared Smiley is a sock-puppet boogeyman, a low-rent knockoff of Candyman and Ghostface.

Full Review… | October 14, 2012

It's nice to see that Gallagher may be trying to tap into something that will talk specifically to his generation but at the same time he's not willing to cop out to all the current horror trends in making his film.

Full Review… | October 13, 2012

Just about any of the films it rips off would be superior choices.

Full Review… | October 12, 2012

One of the most inept movies of 2012. The only thing truly scary about this terror film is that somebody paid to have it produced.

Full Review… | October 12, 2012

Smiley's story is wasted on terrible horror execution, creating a frustrating and tiring watch filled with inside internet jokes most older viewers will not be LOL-ing about.

Full Review… | October 12, 2012
We Got This Covered

Smiley the boogeyman may or may not be a joke, but Smiley the movie definitely is.

Full Review… | October 12, 2012
Television Without Pity

A modest, low-budget horror movie with some effective ideas and an engaging lead performance but it clutters itself down with too much dialogue about its title character and the very concept of evil being potentially brought to physical life.

Full Review… | October 11, 2012

The chances of seeing a bunch of people dressed as Smiley this October 31st is giving too much credit to a project that will be forgotten before it has any chance of becoming more than a minor pop-cultural footnote.

Full Review… | October 9, 2012

Audience Reviews for Smiley

Absolutely dreadful Slasher film that is derivative, filled with clichés and bad dialogue. The film's biggest problem is that we've seen its concept so many times before. The film rip-off the Scream franchise and Candyman films, which were far superior to this trash. This film is one of the worst horror films than I've seen since Wes Craven's My Soul to Take. The problem with this film is that it tries to add an intellectual quality to its formula, unfortunately the script is so poorly written and the acting is so bad that it makes this film one of the worst films in the genre in recent memory. Which I think it's too bad because if the material could have been worked on a bit more. This is a film that is the perfect example of how not to make a horror film. The cast is comprised of unknowns, and YouTube stars, and I kid you not that are really what this film is. Pointless and poorly directed, Smiley uses old ideas that we've seen in many other films, and it is a tiring, pointless picture that is sure to disappoint. This is among the year's worst horror flicks and it has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. This film should never have seen the light of day. All the positive reviews are from people that clearly involved with the making of this train wreck. This film was absolute trash from start to finish, and the filmmakers had no clue on how to create an effective horror film. They just took the best elements of classic horror films, watered it down added some sort of teen humor twist to it. The film insults the intelligence and the horror fan in question. There are far better films out there than this trash. Avoid this film like the plague. This had potential ion being a good flick, but everything is wasted on poor productions, poor script and poor directing that overall this isn't worth your time.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer


A throwback to nineties post-"Scream" horror, "Smiley" tells of an urban legend based on a killer who inhabits the internet and can be summoned by typing "I did it for the lulz" three times.
Yep, it's "Candyman" for the Skype generation. Director Michael Gallagher started out making popular YouTube videos which is exactly what this movie looks like with it's garish lighting and minimal set dressing. In fairness the script does manage to tie up all it's loose ends which is more than can be said for most big-budget flicks today.

The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

''I did it for the lulz''

"LULZ", in case you don't know is an internet slang usually translated to laughing out loud intensely or laughing at someone's expense: We the public paradoxically can be categorized into this very definition as we are senseless enough to even donate this manure of a film a subsequent glance while those involved with production are laughing to the bank (though no question the amount will be small). In any case "Smiley" is one of those films you suspect is probably garbage but you're mysteriously enticed to see it anyways; my expectations were exceeded well beyond reality.

The film revolves around an urban legend known as Smiley, a figure with stitched-up eyes and grin who appears when people engage in anonymous online chat sessions. Smiley is basically a cyberspace cheat of Candyman/Scream, an unscary being magically appearing behind victims and gutting them with tedious competence. Within the first five minutes we're given the cheap jump scare right off the flag......this is going to be a long 95 minutes. Not only do we have to deal with the constant failed attempts of ridiculous pop-ups; we're in addition provided with what has to be the worst dialogue script in 2012. Our protagonist, Ashley (Caitlin Gerard), who upon smoking pot with her wild roommate, Proxy (Melanie Papalia), awkwardly announces, "I think I'm high on your marijuana", later we're presented with her extraordinary insight of her surroundings, "He chased, he cut me, and then we ripped my shirt", uttered so unnaturally you'd think she was lying . Even with the rather cynical and disturbing faith of our naïve protagonist, she comes off as such an aggravating moron that it's hard not to root for her demise. Not much better can be spoken for of the other cast members including our YouTube stars (Shane Dawson and Toby Turner) who have no problems aggravating the hell out of me.

In the end, yes this is a low-budget film but it's disappointing that the creators generated a final product so insipid and deceitful; one wonders who in their right mind would produce such a thing. By the end we're given the obligatory cynical twist, and the dreaded final sequel-baiting money shot, as well as a brief appearance by Keith David that, in eliciting pity for an actor working in material far beneath him, proves Smiley's saddest moment (You could also include Roger Bart).

Story: D-
Acting: D
Direction: F
Visuals: D-
Overall: D-

1/2 star out of 4

Matthew Rodrigues

Super Reviewer

Smiley is an upcoming horror movie which I kid you not, made it way into my mail box. How my name got confuse for a projectionist is beyond me and the people who send me this do know you don't use a DVD disc to show your movie in theaters. You know an upcoming movie is bad if you could get a copy of it before its official by complete accident. Now I did want to give this movie a chance since it's getting a limited theatrical run and didn't want to ruin it for those who do want to see this, but it's not really worth your time pursuing this incredibly weak horror movie. Now I would go on record and say if you do want to see the movie avoid reading this as it does spoil the ending.

Now according to the official website which says "After learning of an urban legend in which a demented serial killer named SMILEY can be summoned through the Internet, mentally fragile Ashley must decide whether she is losing her mind or becoming Smiley's next victim" for a plot synopsis that's completely pointless with two twist at the end. These two twists really killed this movie as you see serial killer "Smiley" kill dozen of generic teenagers on screen and only two of the killings actually happened. Yes that's right, only two killing in a horror movie and only one you actually get to see. You might be wondering what the twist in this movie is, which I'm going to tell you since this is really something you don't want to spent your money on. The twist being that "Smiley" was just a prank by horrible teenagers which means I just saved you an hour and a half of a pointless and cliche horror movie. As for the teenagers, they're glad that they killed an innocent college student and thought it was hilarious that the mentally unstable young woman jumped out of a window and killed herself in a attempt to getaway from what she thought was a serial killer in a life threatening situation. Unfortunately only one of these awful teenagers gets killed at the end with a twist that proves the urban legend of Smiley is real. So in case you missed that, I just spend an hour and a half on watching a prank that killed a mentally unstable young woman instead of horror movie following the title serial killer. That's gets me angry since the horror aspect of this movie has only has one technique of trying to scare the audience with the very tiresome "jump scare" repeatedly. I kid you not the director used a "jump scare" in the first minute of the movie. That's really pathetic if you're trying to scare the audience before giving them any kind of information or establishing your setting. This becomes tiresome in the movie very fast since it's the only technique that is use to scare people and the plot is horrible. The cast themselves aren't that bad in the acting department, but most of them will get on your nerves. It's very obvious why some of these actress were cast in this (including one that tries to look like Jennifer Lawrence) and it's eye candy for the audience which is the only thing this offers. Which in all honesty, is something we don't want in a horror movie and not worth our time with a twist that makes the audience hate the characters even more than they already did.

Smiley might not be one of the worst horror movies I've seen, but with generic characters you'll hate and twists that make the entire movie pointless to watch are things that won't put a smile on anyone face. Smiley is an inaccurate title since you'll most likely be enraged by what you just watched. As for the DVD disc I receive it got run over by a train with the hopes that no one else would see it.

Caesar Mendez

Super Reviewer

Smiley Quotes

Is that some sort of asian dating site?
– Submitted by Alex U (2 years ago)
What's bee?
– Submitted by Alex D (2 years ago)

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