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Film / Smiley

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Smiley is a 2012 psychological slasher film directed by Michael Gallagher of Totally Sketch. The film stars Caitlin Gerard, Melanie Papalia, Shane Dawson, Andrew James Allen, Liza Weil, Toby Turner and Keith David.

After learning of an urban legend in which a demented serial killer named Smiley McGee, whose face is totally blank save for the smiley face he carved there himself, can be summoned through the internet, mentally fragile Ashley must decide whether she is losing her mind or becoming Smiley's next victim.

The film was released in theaters, on video on demand, and via online streaming on October 11, 2012. The trailer can be viewed here.


Tropes applying to Smiley:

  • Asshole Victim: Heavily implied that this fate will befall the entire group who haunted Ashley as Smiley, as the real Smiley kills one of them on camera and it's stated that he goes after the summoner after the kill.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ashley tries summoning Smiley to kill someone to test the legend out and it works. After the prank drives her to near-suicide, one of the group decides to go through the legend's summoning ritual as a joke... and discovers to his horror that Smiley actually exists.
  • Big Bad: Almost everyone as the events of the movie was one big prank on Ashley.
  • Bittersweet Ending: There's actually no Smiley and that it was all a practical joke. Unfortunately, Ashley doesn't discover this before she jumps out a window to her probable death while running away from the fake Smiley, who is revealed to be a group made from her closest friends as a prank. She lives, as the stinger indicates, and the real Smiley begins to set his sights on the pranksters.
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  • Blood from the Mouth: Blood comes out of Smiley's mouth and eyes.
  • Deadly Prank: It nearly becomes this when Ashley appears to be driven to suicide. However, the "deadly" part only comes in after the prank's apparent completion, when Smiley actually arrives.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Ashley fears Smiley will go after her after she uses him to kill someone. At the end of the film, the group slowly realizes this too.
  • Facial Horror: Where Smiley should have a face, there are gashes sewn shut that look like a smiling emoticon.
  • False Friend: Ashley’s friends are all rather horrible people. They’re in on the plot to terrorise her into trying to kill herself simply because they think it’s funny.
  • For the Evulz: The group that is Smiley's motivation. They don't even mind if they wind up killing people. Their reaction? "DUDE! AWESOME! FOR THE LULZ!"
  • Gambit Roulette: Literally, as the group's plan to scare Ashley involves using a Chat Roulette-like clone, which randomly selects people to talk to. Their plan also relies on the police not bothering to check in on the reports of murder, or anyone else for that matter.
  • Glasgow Grin: Smiley's grin is one of these.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Smiley himself.
  • Hate Sink: As it turns out, "Smiley" who was seeming to stalk Ashley, was a fringe group of Anonymous consisting of strangers and students Ashley befriended trying to spread the urban legend of Smiley. To this end, they fake numerous murders, stalk and gaslight Ashley culminating in her jumping out a window to her seeming death. When this prank is revealed, the pranksters openly celebrate her suicide, the success and brag how their legend will go down in infamy.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Smiley. Despite seeming human unless you look at his face and the fact that he can be summoned by a certain phrase, isn’t human by any means of the definition.
  • Ironic Nickname: One of the group members is nicknamed Pedobear after the internet meme, even though Pedobear is a pedophile while the member they call Pedobear reports pedophiles. May or may not have been intentional on the writers' part.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: As soon as the group drove Ashley to suicide and they celebrate on the fact, one of the members gets killed by the real Smiley, and since another member was the one who summoned him, he's bound to be next too.
  • Karmic Death: Right after the group celebrates their successive trolling, the real Smiley kills one of them via the urban legend, then looks at another member with a look that clearly indicates that he, and perhaps the group in general are next.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The real Smiley kills one of the pranksters at the end of the film, and it's heavily suggested that he's going to kill the rest of them both as punishment for their cruel prank on Ashley and for making a mockery of him.
  • Menacing Mask: There is supposedly an urban legend about a serial killer called Smiley McGee that wears the smiley emoticon on their face: a fleshy-looking, distorted smiley icon. Subverted when the movie reveals that it is actually a group of individuals who decide to psychologically torment Ashley, the protagonist. Then double subverted when there is in fact a real Smiley McGee on the loose.
  • Moral Myopia: Pedobear reports pedophiles, but is cool with murdering innocent people "for the lulz".
  • Smiley can be summoned over a chat site in which the urban legend was found on 4chan's /b/ board. You have to type "I did it for the lulz" to bring out Smiley.
  • Nightmare Face: Smiley... Well, duh.
  • No, You: Binder's feelings toward the rest of Anonymous claiming he and his friends don't respect Anonymous' code.
    Binder: We're off message? No, they're off message.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Pretty much everybody in Ashley's life set this up to torture her just for the fun of it. Now they'll have a real serial killer to deal with.
  • Plot Hole: The movie is full of them, especially when Fridge Logic is applied.
    • Would Youtube actually allow videos portraying displays of extreme violence (the Smiley murders) to be on their site?
    • Stacy acts scared of Smiley even when she's alone despite being in on it all along.
  • Police Are Useless: Mind you, if any cops heard that there's an urban legend going around that a serial killer can appear and murder people if certain conditions are met and are talking with a person who was in a popular video in which she goes crazy and smashes her laptop, they might be skeptical. However, there's some gross negligence going on with the cop who talks to the heroine, as he says he's received the report of this kind of murder multiple times, and not once did he bother to look into it. And no, they're not in on the scheme.
  • Prank Gone Too Far: The Smiley prank leads to Smiley getting summoned to kill the Trolls, and the prank nearly drives Ashley to suicide.
  • Real After All: The story goes that once you've used Smiley to kill someone he comes after you in turn. The Trolls used Smiley's legend to kill Ashley...
  • The Reveal:
    • Smiley turns out to be a group of people who were messing with Ashley under the name "Anonymous". They consist of her roommate and several people she met at the party who had all somewhat "died".
    • An extra one seconds before the end where it turns out Smiley is real... and is most displeased by the prank.
  • Rule of Three: In order to get Smiley to appear, you have to type "I did it for the lulz" in the chat 3 times.
  • Serious Business: A real-life example: Remember Rules 1 and 2 of the internet? Do not talk about /b/? Well, imagine how some 4channers feel when a movie is revolved around it. It caused quite a backlash just by breaking those rules.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: The main protagonist Ashley is blonde and is haunted by Smiley.
  • Slasher Smile: Perhaps the creepiest looking one.
  • The Sociopath: The group masterminding the prank. They are using the prank to make the urban legend of Smiley, and spread it out more by terrorizing the heroine throughout the movie. When they think they drove Ashley to sucide, the give celebrate it as a job well done. One does however express some degree of remorse over this.
  • Spiritual Successor: Chain Letter (2010) 2.0.
  • Troll: Pretty obvious seeing as this movie is based around the internet. But as it turns out the group that is Smiley are also trolls too, and much more malevolent ones too.
  • The Stinger: Ashley survives the fall... barely.
  • Twist Ending: The Smileys during the near end were trolls. When the leader tells one of his subordinates via webcam of the success, he then types "I did it for the lulz" three times and then the real Smiley shows up and kills her. And since Smiley goes after the summoner after killing said summoner's victim, he presumably gets killed by him.
  • Urban Legend: Smiley himself is one.