Some of the best art is taking familiar territory into a whole new direction. That is exactly what made Smiley Death Face stand out when I saw it screen at The Valley Film Festival 2021.
This short thriller follows Rachel, played by Jordan Ovitt, who is alone at home when an anonymous killer sends her threats through text messages. The thing is, this suspenseful conversation is told entirely through emojis.
Picture the opening scene of Scream, but told in emojis. With this, the filmmakers took a common movie troupe and turned it on its head.
Graphics pop up on screen of the emoji texts while the narrative plays out. A news segment plays on the TV in the living room throughout, this dialogue provides a perfect subtext to the story.
The dialogue from the TV is about the phenomenon of emojis and their role in society. Smiley Death Face fires on all cylinders. The acting was great, supported by steady, continuous camera work that really draws you in. Composer Ben Bromfield crafted music that was a perfect underscore to the emotion of the piece.
This short should feel like a win for everyone involved. Including director Andrew Patrick Torrez, writer Chris Lewis Carter and producers Joanna Fang and Jennifer Jewel-High Jackson. And win it did, Smiley Death Face won best drama short at Valley Film Fest 2021.
A well deserved win. Smiley Death Face is a fast paced, unique spin on the horror genre. The short is still making the festival rounds now, if you get a chance to see Smiley Death Face I highly recommend it. You will end up feeling nervous face – smiley face – hands clapping.
26th July 2019
Andrew Patrick Torrez
Chris Lewis Carter
THE QUICK SELL
A review of the short film Thriller Smiley Death Face. A horror narrative, told mostly through emojis. As seen at The Valley Film Festival 2021.