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2AM: The Smiling Man

As a frequenter of a subreddit called NoSleep, I was delighted to find that one of the most memorable creepypastas I’ve stumbled across was interpreted in film format last year. 2AM, directed and edited by Michael Evans of Go For Broke Pictures and starring Sean Simon and Paul Foltz, is based on a supposedly true account by user tidal_wave of what happened during one of her sleepless nights out and about in a big American city.

Tidal_wave, a self-described night owl, had made a habit of strolling through the streets late at night while her (she doesn’t explicitly state her gender in the story, but as she pointed out in the wake of the release of 2AM, she dropped some pretty obvious clues) non-nocturnal roommate was asleep. This went well for four years until she encountered the now-notorious Smiling Man and resolved never to walk out at night again.

The major creep factor here is that the story is realistic. Insane people exist, drugged out people exist, and people who just enjoy messing with strangers in the middle of the night exist. Whether or not creepy supernatural beings from hell exist is debatable, but a story like The Smiling Man sure makes some of the more terrified minds wander.

The most glaring inaccuracy in 2AM is the protagonist, who is most likely female in the original. But seeing as that’s not exactly a crucial element in the story, I think it’s fair to say that the film team did The Smiling Man justice — though the visual portrayal of the smiling man might actually be a tad more hilarious than horrifying while the written description is 100% spine-tingling, but that’s just my opinion. Here’s what tidal_wave has to say about the adaptation of her story: “This is pretty cool. It’s really well shot, and the actors did a great job. It’s not particularly accurate in terms of how it actually went down, but a few things were very close.”

Read the story, which was originally posted to r/letsnotmeet and later re-posted to r/nosleep, here (listening to “Surfin’ Dead” by The Cramps while reading helps if you scare easily) and watch the short film below. I recommend proceeding in that order.

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