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#1 Movie of All-Time
#1 Movie Character
Smiley starts off like many slasher movies do, introduce some random chick in slutty clothing, cue the tense atmosphere of impending doom, add a jump scare or 2, and then end scene with our slasher making a bloody entrance. Right off the bat, this movie uses a tired formula that not only has been done a thousand times before, but has been done a thousand times better before. This is the perfect setup to this movie though. Since the filmmakers used rehashed material borrowed from so many movies before, why make people think that they’re in for something they’re not? But slinging around a tired formula doesn’t necessarily have to mean mediocrity, and someone should’ve told the filmmakers of Smiley that.
Smiley relies on the basics for its story telling. Urban legend + over obnoxious college kids + virgin that no one believes + slasher = horror. This is a formula that we’re all familiar with and one that has worked time and again. The problem is, it didn’t work for Smiley, and here is why. Firstly, the acting was atrocious. I’ve seen better acting on public access cable shows that were more convincing than this cast was. And the overuse of teen slang would make Diablo Cody roll her eyes in disgust. Secondly, where was the suspense? The filmmakers did almost nothing to create a creepy atmosphere, and that is an absolute must in horror films. If you refuse to make the environment scary, how do you expect people to be scared when something actually happens? Turdly, the characters were so one dimensional that I didn’t give a shit if anything happened to them anyway. Whenever someone died at the hands of Smiley I was pretty much relieved, mostly because I knew that I was that much closer to the end of the flick.
Lastly, and this is hands down my biggest problem with the movie, the complete copout of an ending it has. The only way this formula works is if you don’t over complicate things. Take the most iconic slashers to date for example. Michael Myers, Leatherface, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger; all these characters are beloved because they are who they are. These guys kill because that’s who they are and what they do, plain and simple. I don’t want to spoil the end for anybody, but I’ll just say that in the end, there is more time explaining things than time spent on kills during the entire movie. During these explanations, I couldn’t help but feel the filmmakers went the route they did because they don’t have enough faith in the intellect of their audience. So instead of implying the situation, the basically brought in charts and pie graphs and explained everything in a power point presentation. Whatever little bit of intrigue they built into the story of Smiley was completely pissed on with that ending.
In the end, Smiley was a watered down, half assed joke of a horror movie, and even the 4 minutes that Keith David were in it couldn’t make this movie watchable. I could’ve overlooked almost every problem with this flick if they hadn’t overcomplicated that ending. There are a lot of horror movies that are filled with annoying kids and bad acting but are still good because of the main event: the killer. But they took a potentially good thing and completely fucked it up. If I had to make a single analogy with Smiley, I would say it’s like having a friend drop in with a huge bag of juicy cheeseburgers, but as soon as you get excited about them he starts jamming them up his ass while you watch.
My Rating: 3/10 - A little credit goes for casting Keith David, although he was severely under used; Smiley's face which was so badass that it deserved to be in a better flick; and for a small handful of scenes that were fairly decent.