Smile – A Movie that Gives you Everything to Smile About

Smile released on September 30, 2022 to widespread critical and popular acclaim.

Smile released on September 30, 2022 to widespread critical and popular acclaim.

Paramount’s “Smile”, based on the short film “Laura’s Never Slept”, released September 30, 2022 in theaters internationally. Starring Sosie Bacon as the protagonist and a supporting cast of Kyle Gallner and Jessie T. Usher, the film follows a psychiatrist plagued by a curse with strangely disturbing origins.

As the movie began, it was immediately clear to me that this movie did something different, yet I couldn’t pinpoint it- I soon realized the lack of a soundtrack brought even the most silent of noises as surprises. We are introduced to Dr. Rose Cotter, a busy psychiatrist at a mental institution, tasked with talking to and understanding patients’ problems. As she interviews a new patient, who seems disturbed by smiling apparitions at every turn, Cotter witnesses the suicide of the patient in front of her very eyes. She soon begins to see the patient, and other figures from her life, smiling at random turns, as the countdown to her own death ticks down.

It’s clear the movie pushes one thing above all else: the element of surprise. Jumpscares are almost overused, especially in the horror genre, but the lack of a soundtrack and the sheer element of death portrayed along the film accentuated each scare in a way no other recent horror movie has. Apart from this, director Parker Finn performed the horror element of the smile to perfection. Each suicide portrayed in the movie has the victim smiling as the act is committed, which adds a level of eeriness that surpasses many prior movies in the genre.

But what really makes the movie unique is the strange sense of realism. The events occurring in the movie seem to be plausible, apart from the whole “spirit possession” thing, and it lulls the viewer into a sense of relaxation… until the next scare appears. And after the next scare comes more calmness, more research by Cotter into her dilemma, until the next terrifying case of the Smile appears. The only thing Finn could have improved on in this excellent film was the plot- though the story is sound, it seems very rushed, in contrast to the absolute masterpiece it could have been if it had been paced a little slower.

Smile, despite its rare shortcomings, meets and exceeds expectations in every way. The movie has you in fear at any scene, any scene whatsoever. Bacon plays Cotter to perfection, and we find ourselves empathizing with the character despite her inherent flaws. This trope is extremely rare in movies in general, let alone the horror genre. Finn plays the smile to perfection, and the movie will definitely cause the viewer to mistrust anyone smiling at all. All in all, Smile is a masterpiece and should be viewed as a model to other horror movies. But if you decide to watch it, know one thing- you won’t be sleeping that night.