The Smiling Man – short, 2015 – reviews


The Smiling Man is a 2015 American supernatural horror short film written, edited and directed by A.J. Briones. It stars Abbi Chally, Strange Dave and Melissa Chally.


“Beyond the fact that his title monster is shit-your-pants terrifying, Briones’ ability to lead the viewers into his nightmare with a sense of mystery and wonder is perfection, creating a world that at first seems safe but is ultimately anything but. Someone needs to give this dude all the money in the world so he can make more of this.” Ryan C., The Missing Reel

“Briones takes a pretty simple premise — in truth this is the only weakness to the film, it’s linear, simple and could quite easily be an extended scene from a longer film — but through skilful camerawork and assured direction he is able to wring the scenario for every single drop of suspense.” Steven Hickey, UK Horror Scene



The Smiling Man will send chills down your spine and it will make the hair on your neck stand up. It will also stick around in your head long after it is over. The next time you are home alone you will be scared to death. The film has a cast of three, Abbi Chally is terrific as the little girl. The innocence and curiosity on her face which later turns to pure terror is priceless.” Patrick Ricketts, The Slaughtered Bird

“Director AJ Briones and his talented cast and crew offer up a perfect slice of horror that is both a mash-up of a whole bunch of your favorite movies and something boldly new and original at the same time. Taking a cue from Lights Out this superb short drops the lead character, in this case a cute lil’ innocent played to perfection by Abbi Chally, into deep, deep, peril almost immediately. Peril with a capital P.” Dee Omen

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