‘Smiley’ Director Michael J. Gallagher On The Real Horrors Of The Internet

With his new horror film “Smiley,” director Michael J. Gallagher tackles the torment and terror that can come to teens – in the form of slasher Smiley – who choose not to surf responsibly. And according to Gallagher, he experienced some torment and terror himself.

The official synopsis, “Smiley” is:

A twisted killer let loose. A college student yearning for a fresh start. Internet trolls looking for trouble. It all comes together in SMILEY: the most terrifying and controversial horror film of the year. Troubled teen Ashley (Caitlin Gerard) mistakenly summons a devious murderer named Smiley to kill a stranger online. With the help of her nerdy friend Binder (Shane Dawson), an insightful college professor (Roger Bart) and a skeptical detective (Keith David), Ashley must decide whether she is going insane or becoming Smiley’s next victim.

In a chat with Topless Robot, Gallagher discussed how he invoked the fury of Internet subconscious 4chan, by using the actual site in the film. He said:

We played a little bit with fire there, in using their actual site and talking about them specifically. They like to have their special club, and there’s a group of people that don’t want to be discussed, and the fact that we discussed them in the film, and I think the fact that the film got a much larger release than we had intended when we initially made the film was something that when that issue came up, it hit us. It not only hit me, but it hit my family and people that were working on the film, so it became a much bigger deal than we were ever anticipating when we were writing it.

…learning about some of these dark, twisted stories of what people are capable of doing completely for fun, for the lulz, it was fascinating. It fueled my belief in a group doing something so planned, so vindictive, just for fun.

Head over to Topless Robot for the full interview.

“Smiley” is available on DVD now, watch our exclusive clip from the film here: