‘They only have eyes for you’
Smiley Face Killers is a 2017 American horror feature film about a young who believes he is being stalked by a hooded figure.
Directed by Tim Hunter (River’s Edge) from a screenplay written by Bret Easton Ellis (American Psycho), the Grindstone Entertainment Group production stars Ronen Rubinstein (No Escape; Condemned; Some Kind of Hate), Mia Serafino (Zeroville; Secrets of a Psychopath; Hitchcock, 2012), Crispin Glover (Lucky Day; Willard; Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter) and Amadeus Serafini (Project X-Traction; Scream: The TV Series). Produced by Braxton Pope (The Canyons), David Wulf and Bret Easton Ellis.
As a strange wave of mysterious drownings of male college students plagues the California coast, handsome young soccer player Jake Graham (Ronen Rubinstein) struggles to keep his life together at school. He believes he is going insane, unable to shake the feeling of being stalked by something, by someone.
In fact, he is being stalked by a deformed and hooded guru figure (Crispin Glover) driving an unmarked van. Growing more paranoid, Jake fears he may become the next victim in the killers’ horrific spree…
“For its final 15 minutes, Smiley Face Killers puts the pedal to the floor for some hectic horror that includes a few murders, a car chase, and a fiery explosion. You’d have to be a masochist to make it this far, however, as the mundane misadventures of a moping man don’t create dread during the buildup. They create a dreadfully tedious test of patience.” Culture Crypt
“Even if you accept the shoddy script, lack of thrills or atmosphere, abundance of unlikable characters, and gaping logic holes, Smiley Face Killers is a pretty poorly constructed film. Editing choices leave unexplained gaps, attempts at artsy visuals are instead ugly, and Kristin Gundred’s score, while solid enough on its face, is nearly omnipresent throughout leaving few moments for quiet contemplation and terror.” Film School Rejects
” …the script not leaning more into Jake’s cognitive condition and whether or not the killers were real was a missed opportunity, in my opinion. I think there was a lot that could have been done with such a narrative. Seeing his condition play a role in separating him from his support group was sad. The entire movie’s quite bleak, and as I mentioned, it left me wondering about what it was trying to say.” The Geekiary
“This is the most unintentionally homoerotic horror film since A Nightmare on Elm Street 2! The movie is at a few points well shot and there are some quick looks at some good looking gore. But it feels like it’s not really going anywhere or anything happens for a purpose in the story.” Jan Kraft
” …I saw Ellis name and thought I was in for a great time with Smiley Face Killers. There is definitely something here, a hint of a great idea/movie, and the story isn’t the worst I’ve seen but my god, did the acting pull the film down! I do think people should give it a watch at least once because you never know you might be the audience this movie caters for but for my money it’s a one and done.” Nerdly
“Hunter and Ellis certainly managed to flip the usual formula for showing skin in a horror film, but that’s about all they’ve managed. There’s no real suspense about what’s going on since we know that the killers are real and are stalking him […] The killings are fairly brutal, as are some torture scenes, but their randomness and some ill-advised CGI “enhancements” rob them of much of their impact. Maybe I was wrong hoping Bret Easton Ellis could manage to write something worthwhile.” Voices from the Balcony
Smiley Face Killers will be released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital on December 8th 2020. A ‘Behind-the-scenes featurette with cast interviews is included.
Cast and characters:
Ronen Rubinstein … Jake Graham
Mia Serafino … Keren
Crispin Glover … Hooded Figure
Amadeus Serafini … Gabriel
Ashley Rickards … Alana – Killer App; A Haunted House 2; At the Devil’s Door
Garrett Coffey … Adam
Cody Simpson … Rob
Daniel Covin … Devon
Rachel Crowl … Woman Killer
Corey Prather … Paul