''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 bat.....red 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).
1/2 star out of 4