Every once in a while, I see something that truly scares me. AJ Briones’ The Smiling Man is one of those pieces. Inside an upstairs bedroom, a little girl innocently watches old Mickey Mouse cartoons. When she hears a noise, she peaks out and sees a bright balloon hovering just in front of her. While it seems innocent, a sack of doll parts is being used to weigh down the balloon. She looks down the stairs and sees more balloons leading a path to the kitchen. What is truly terrifying is not just an innocent picking up the pieces of dolls, but the fact that if you watch carefully, you can see a small grey hand just out of reach placing the balloons on the path. The little girl goes to the kitchen and discovers one of the most messed up beings I’ve ever had the horror of seeing.
Writer and Director A.J. Briones is very adamant that the figure in this film is not a supernatural beast, but a man. This makes everything just a bit more terrifying.
To scare yourself silly, check it out at SXSW this weekend at one of these showings:
- Friday, March 11 at 11:30pm – Alamo Lamar A
- Monday, March 14 at 9:00pm – Alamo Ritz 1
- Thursday, March 17 at 10:00pm – Alamo Ritz 1