04th Dec2020

‘Smiley Face Killers’ Blu-ray Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Ronin Rubinstein, Mia Serafino, Crispin Glover, Garrett Coffey | Written by Bret Easton Ellis | Directed by Tim Hunter

Q: Rules of Attraction, American Psycho and Smiley Face Killers… What do these three movies have in common?
A: All 3 were written by the awesome Brett Easton Ellis!
Q: Which is the odd one out? (Answer at the end of this review)

Smiley Face Killers. A movie that snuck up on me for sure but to see a “Produced and Written by Brett Easton Ellis” strapline on the marketing materials, well that hooked me in for sure. As a huge American Psycho and Rules of Attraction fan (Which did you prefer? Have to admit I’m more of a Rules fan) well I was mega interested in what Ellis had to offer in 2020…. Let’s do this. Smiley Face Killers you’re up…

Piss poorly written, ridiculously handsome and underdeveloped – character wise, I’m sure he has completed puberty – young footballer (I refuse to call it soccer) Jake, has been struggling to keep it together for some time as he has been self medicating for depression and anxiety. He is convinced he is being watched, rightly so because he is. As a murderous cult move into his area because… Reasons? Of course none of his friends, including his unsupportive girlfriend, believe him and just think he is paranoid; his girlfriend even saying “get back on your meds” about 60 times. It’s not long before the mind games and stalking become brutal displays of murder as our cult members drug, torture and drown young men leaving only a smiley face in graffiti at the scene of the crime.

Smiley Face Killers makes a soft claim in the opener that this is based on a true story and, I don’t know, maybe it is. What I do know is that I’m not overly bothered because the first hour of the film was a hard slog. I love a slow burn in my horror movies but if your going to do that, then you need to build real tension and get me to the point of caring about these characters… before they meet a grisly end. This movie does none of those things and only succeeds in showing us that bad actors and  bad story equals bad movie.

I would talk about the actors but honestly there is not a lot to say. Crispin Glover is in here but you won’t recognise him. I mean okay I don’t wanna be too critical, the performances are all serviceable, the actors are putting in OK performances but not a single one of them pulled an emotion from me – when any of them died I really couldn’t of cared and the killers? What and why they were doing this escaped me really but after about an hour of slow ‘he’s behind you’ shenanigans and some dude cycling his bike around for no real reason other than… well no reason really!

This is real shame to be honest, because 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. I’m glad I watched it but I could of easily gone through life having not seen it.

Blu-ray Special Features:

  • Behind the Scenes, with cast interviews
  • Trailer Gallery

Not surprisingly this one garners a low score and that’s mostly because I respect the work of Ellis and there was something hidden in here. Hidden very, very, very, deep mind you! On another note, IMDb search for director Tim Hunter and you will find that he has directed episodes of just about every TV show ever… Seriously pick a series this guy probably worked on it, which brings up an even bigger question of what the hell happened here?

Oh, and the answer to that question at the beginning? It’s Smiley Face Killers… because it’s just not on the same level as the other two!

** 2/5

Smiley Face Killers is released on DVD and Blu-ray, in the US, on December 8th, courtesy of Artisan/Lionsgate. Signature Entertainment will release the film digitally on December 14th 2020.


4 Responses to “‘Smiley Face Killers’ Blu-ray Review”

  • Jason

    FYI—There is supposedly is a murderous group of killers targeting college age kids here in the States and leave behind Smiley Faces at the scene. The FBI doesn’t believe it but a group of police detectives do.

    • Phil Wheat

      Ahhhhhh. Interesting. I wonder if that’s also the “true story” behind the film Smiley?

    • kevin haldon

      Yeah after having watched the flick I did a little looking around and found this to be the case. Doesn’t help the movie though it’s still bad

  • Nathan Favel

    Damn. I hoped that this would have been a good one. I think I’ll still give it a try though. I ended up kinda liking Ishtar (go figure), so I take nothing for granted now.