Smile is a psychological horror movie that keeps you entertained, frightened, and anxious.
Sosie Bacon, who also played in the TV series Scream, is the main character Rose Cotter, a doctor who dedicated her life to working at a center for psychiatric patients.
Early in the movie, Rose is called into a room to help Laura Weaver, a patient in extreme distress. Weaver explains that her college professor once looked at her with a very eerie smile as he committed suicide right in front of her. She begged Rose to believe that she was not crazy, but ever since the incident, she began seeing strange things and having very daunting experiences. Weaver then explodes with fear when she tells Rose that what she has been seeing is now in the room with the two.
As Rose calls for help, she turns and sees Weaver smiling at her before committing a gruesome suicide.
Rose tries to stay positive after the event but eventually is told to go home from work for a week after displaying many signs of distress. She begins to see the same things Weaver described and is now the next to be under the dark spell.
She tries to get everyone to believe that she sees things, too, but no one believes her. They think she is going crazy. After researching, Rose realizes she is under a dark spell. The only way to cure herself is to kill someone with a witness, or she will eventually be the next to smile while committing a horrendous suicide.
Smile is directed by Parker Finn, who previously directed The Hidebehind, a short film about a guy lost in the woods who encounters a peculiar figure. He also directed Laura Hasn’t Slept, a movie about a girl who seeks help from a therapist to stop having a reoccurring nightmare.
While in an interview with MovieWeather, Finn explains that his film Laura Hasn’t Slept was his primary motivation in creating the movie Smile. Finn also was inspired to create Smile after watching the 1986 film Rosemary’s Baby and the 1995 film by Todd Haynes titled Safe. He stated that it was because they portrayed a character’s anxiety as they began to go down a rabbit hole.
In an interview with thewrap.com, he was asked, “Why a smile?” He answers by saying, “I think there’s something fun there, and I love the inherent contradiction between a smile and this sense of palpable evil. I wanted the movie to feel sort of like gleefully evil, and I’m hoping that is what people get out of it.”
I admit that I am not usually a fan of movies that portray blood and gore, but I couldn’t help but hope that Rose would find someone to believe her. We all go through times when we feel isolated, and it’s hard to get people to understand what we are dealing with. The use of bright pastel colors, dynamic camera angles, and transitions also kept me more interested than afraid. Honestly, the first suicide scene almost made me want to walk away from the screen, but in the end, I was glad that I stayed to see how the story played out.
Smile turned out to be a box office success. The budget for the film was $17 million, and the film has grossed over $190 million. The musical score did not include any familiar sounds but instead was full of original music scored by Cristobal Tapia, who also scored for the show Black Mirror. The movie’s look was amazing, with great use of practical effects produced physically without computer-generated imagery or other post-production techniques. The practical effects in Smile were done by Amalgamated Effects, who also did films such as Alien 3, Mortal Kombat, Mars Attacks, and the Nutty Professor.
I recommend this film to anyone who liked The Ring, The Orphan, or Get Out. I enjoyed the intense ending and how it leaves you wondering what will happen next.