Smiley (2012)

There is no law in internet land, only law makers and law breakers, in between which, mere mortals such as you and I, live out our online lives as nothing other than pawns in a much bigger game of chess. Certain moves of the game we get to see if we look hard enough and some of the casualties of war are offered up like sacrificial lambs to appease increasingly powerless governments and their agencies, such as Bradley Manning or Julian Assange.

There is a reason why the FBI and CIA more often than not end up hiring the hackers that come up on their radars, because we all know that knowledge is power and the hacker holds all of the good hands while you’re still waiting to be dealt a single card. They are better with you than against you, no matter how scared you are of their god like gifts.
Groups like 4Chan and Anonymous are powerful because they are everywhere and everyone, and you would walk past them in any street in any country without a second glance. They have lives and families just like everyone else, the only difference being that they are creating a whole new set of rules in a world where we are becoming forced to be a part of more and more every day.

They are not the good guys or the bad guys – they are just themselves. They can give with one hand and destroy with another and we have all seen examples of their body of work in the news and on our facebook feeds, without realising it. The CIA, FBI, MI5 and 6 are all just playing catch up by trying to draw lines in virtual sand, which let’s face it does nothing but punish the innocent and help the perpetrators to evolve into a more creative adversary.

With their V for Vendetta masks and their Robin Hood style of going after our very own forms of the Sheriff of Nottingham in the form of bankers, hypocritical government officials and anyone else who the everyday schlub like you and me is powerless to stand up to; these modern day folk heroes have created a movement that has inspired the art of protest in people again, the Occupy movement is an excellent example of their power to influence the public consciousness, and prove to them that even they can make a difference.

Now I’m not saying that every hacker is a saint or everything they stand for is for the great and good of all, because any comic book fan knows that heroes are flawed no matter how powerful they are, but as a collective they are showing those that have power and corrupt it, that they are not invincible and their lives can be touched by the actions of others, as they affect the lives of those further down the rung.

As above, so below …

Scary thought if you’re currently balancing on the pointy roof of your ivory tower, resting your weary bones on a stack of poor people and drinking their tears.

Smiley is the story of an internet legend who can be summoned by some typed lines on a chat roulette sort of site. You pick a stranger, any one will do and then type ’I did it for the lulz’ three times, and our killer appears behind the unlucky target and they’re offline forevermore. Unfortunately calling his bluff leads to a whole world of trouble for some techno geeks and an innocent noob, who have realised that contacting Smiley means that he takes an unhealthy interest in not just the victim.

This film has been torn to shreds by critics and fans alike, but I’ve got to say I found this low budget techno slasher, more entertaining than expected, mainly because I recognised an irritating amount of the characters from my own life, but also because I thought it was an interesting premise for a modern schlock horror, though not particularly well executed and gaping with plot holes.

Still, it’s tongue in cheek cynicism and cool killer mask made it more watchable than it could have been, and with Totally Sketch’s clever casting of Youtube favourites Shane Dawson and Steve Greene, it’s kitsch pop culture laden dialogue and nods to the geeks among us, likens it to Urban Legend and Scream. It has been absolutely annihilated from every possible source, but it is an excellent first attempt at a feature film, and with the steep learning curve they must have gone through in the process, I think the end product turned out pretty well, with plenty of scope for a sequel or two.

I’d definitely watch it.

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This entry was posted in horror, opinion, pop culture, Slasher, Twist ending, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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