Released in theaters on Sept. 30, the movie “Smile” was an unexpected hit. The psychological horror movie was directed by Parker Finn. Before its release, there was a lot of creative marketing released for the movie. For example, for one marketing stunt they hired actors that stood in the back of live streams and in the audience at MLB games smiling. Their smiles were far from friendly and were extremely sinister. This was successful at freaking a lot of people out until they found out it was part of a movie promotion.
The film itself seemed mildly interesting before it came out, but nothing that people were actively anticipating day by day like other films such as “Don’t Worry Darling.”
The movie is a slow-burn horror that gives you time throughout to feel true dread as you anticipate the devastation that is to come. This film is far from as graphic and disturbing as Ari Aster’s “Hereditary” and “Midsommar,” but there are still some disturbing scenes that make members of the audience want to plug their ears and squeeze their eyes shut. The jump scares are also intense but there aren’t so many as to overdo it.
The main character is Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist played by Sosie Bacon. Throughout the movie, we see her go insane little by little. She starts losing her grasp on reality and most of the people around her shut her out.
It all starts when Cotter meets with a patient who is convinced an unknown entity is following her and making itself look like people around her. The patient says it smiles at her. Something horrible then happens and suddenly Cotter is haunted by this entity. We watch her slowly, bone chillingly spiral as time runs out. The movie never quite explains what the smiling thing is and that adds to the ominous tone throughout.
The concept of a creepy smiling entity seems rather cheesy at first, but the movie executed it in a way where it was more frightening and unexpected than anything. The actors who had to be possessed at any point in the movie played their roles well, because the whole smile situation could be off-putting if not done correctly. Robin Weigert, who played Cotter’s therapist, had the most foreboding smile that was extremely chilling.
“Smile” is a hidden gem of a movie and it is a great horror watch, right in time for Halloween.