Dec 292020
 

Smiley Face Killers fails on just about every level outside of a catchy score, the performance from the lead lackluster but worse the movie plods along with villains that take their time stalking and messing with their victim for no reason.

 

 

Smiley Face Killers
(2020)


Genre(s): Horror, Suspense/Thriller
Lionsgate | R – 96 min. – $21.99 | December 8, 2020

Date Published: 12/29/2020 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Director: Tim Hunter
Writer(s): Bret Easton Ellis (written by)
Cast: Ronen Rubenstein, Mia Serafino, Crispin Glover, Amadeus Serafini, Ashley Rickards


DISC INFO:
Features: Featurette, Trailer
Slip Cover: Yes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 1


Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 24.79 GB
Total Bitrate: 29.43 Mbps
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.


THE MOVIE — 1/5


Plot Synopsis: As a strange wave of mysterious drowning of male college students plagues the California coast, Jake (RONEN RUBENSTEIN) struggles to keep his life together at school. Finding himself stalked by a hooded figure (CRISPIN GLOVER) driving an unmarked van, Jake fears he may become the next victim of the killers’ horrific spree.

Quick Hit Review: Slow, dull and anything but suspense-filled or thrilling, this is one of those “inspired by true events” and takes an urban legend and adds some stupidity to it, one that makes little sense and fails to connect why these smiley faces were marked at the murder locations.

Beyond that, the first 50-minutes is filled with lame drama surrounding the main character as portrayed by Ronen Rubenstein who I guess has the looks but none of the on-screen charisma or acting skills to carry an already floundering plot. And the one “name” of the feature, Crispin Glover, has maybe 5-minutes of screen time and utters not a single word, let alone a full line. Oh, and his face is under some heavy make-up, so barely recognizable.

Can’t say I was disappointed in Smiley Face Killers even though I am a fan of true-crime dramas (watch a ton of Investigation Discovery) as it’s another in a long line of direct-to-video features from Grindstone Entertainment and frankly it just didn’t look good. A bit of a shame since it was written by Bret Easton Ellis, the writer behind American Psycho novel.

The film was directed by Tim Hunter whose credits are mostly in the television realm having worked on Bosch, Scream: The TV Series, Hannibal and Mad Men amongst numerous others. There’s no real surprise, this film doesn’t offer much scope outside maybe the opening, which is probably the best sequence (got somewhat of a Zodiac vibe) sadly this was short-lived.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 1½/5


This release comes with a very glossy and title-embossed slip cover. Inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. There is a Behind the Scenes (8:24) featurette and the Trailer (2:12).

 


VIDEO – 4/5


Lionsgate releases Smiley Face Killers onto Blu-ray presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). For the most part the picture looks fine, though, and this was a blink or miss it split second, but did notice a white spec in a shot, a little unusual for a modern film. Otherwise, detail is okay and colors have a natural appearance.

AUDIO – 4/5


The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The bulk of the movie is filled with a “forboding”  score composed by Kristin Gundred which I actually liked quite a bit, had a 1980s-esque vibe going for it. Otherwise, dialogue comes across okay, though thanks to what I assume wasn’t the best recording equipment, there were background noise that sometimes overtook the scene.

 


OVERALL – 1¼/5


Smiley Face Killers fails on just about every level outside of a catchy score, the performance from the lead lackluster but worse the movie plods along with no suspense or thrills and villains that take their time stalking and messing with their victim for no reason. Skip this one. Take the extra time and check out Zodiac instead (even if the conclusion of the killer’s identity is likely  incorrect).

 

 

 

 

Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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