Smile Movie Review
Written/Directed by Parker Finn
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The horror movie Smile stars Sosie Bacon as Rose, Jessie T. Usher (aka A-Train) as Trevor, Gillian Zinser as Holly, and Kyle Gallner as Joel. In this movie, Rose is a psychiatrist dealing with patients suffering from extreme trauma. This is to cope with her own past trauma of seeing her own mother committed suicide as a child. One day she is called in to help a new patient named Laura weaver played by Caitlin Stacey who claims that she is being tormented by an entity that is coming to kill her after witnessing her college professor commit suicide and claiming to have been stalked by the same evil entity. Once Laura sees the evil present in the room with Rose, that Rose cannot see, she commits suicide in front of Rose now passing the curse on to her. Joel is a homicide detective on the case as well as Roses's ex-boyfriend.
During the rest of the film, Rose is beginning to see and hear things that terrify her and is driving her to madness. No one truly believes her claims, not her sister Holly nor her fiancé Trevor. The only one that begins to help is Joel and even that took a lot of arm twisting and evidence.
The expectation from a lot of people is that this is another campy jump scare experience. I would tell you that this movie leaned more on tone and sound. Not booming jump scare sounds but softer volumes that force you to lean in. This tactic would be perfect for the jump scare boom but what was more interesting was the complete volume cut-off moment. Only twice was it followed with what I would call a jump scare but most of the time it was eerie. You got more from the visuals that hid in the shadow or from the quick did I just see that thing far in the background or are my eyes playing tricks on me moments than any of the in-your-face scares?
The entity or the evil demon was not unique, though it could be extremely creepy. It was only when it forced us to look at smiles from the characters that were possessed, was when it was its most scary. You never knew what was about to happen next. The moments when nothing happened at all were most effective.
This movie seemed to be giving a message about mental illness and how we still ignore, mistreat and villainize people suffering from trauma and more. As a horror film, I think it holds up and the marketing behind it really boosts the experience because we’ve all had those moments where someone just seems to be staring into our souls without any rhyme or reason.
During the process I compared this film to Truth or Dare meets The Ring. The ending, though I won’t spoil it here, did lend itself to the possibility of a franchise and I have a plot idea that would make a lot of sense in my opinion, so I’ll talk more about it tonight on my show The Rundown (Thursday 7 pm CST on YouTube). For more follow me on social media and catch our shows on YouTube.