Smile-Fantastic Fest Review

September 23, 202270/1002306 min
Starring
Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey
Written by
Parker Finn
Directed by
Parker Finn
Run Time
Release Date
September 30th, 2022
Overall Score
Rating Summary

                 When you are walking down the street or meet someone new you are often greeted with a smile. Very seldom do you think of what’s behind that smile, but after watching Parker Finn’s new film Smile, you might never look at them the same way again. Horror movies have a way of taking the most mundane things and turning them into nightmare fuel and now you can add a random smile to that ever growing list.

                  Rose (Sosie Bacon ) is a doctor at a hospital where she attends to the people with unstable minds. With a past that includes some trauma of her own, she seeks to help these people for help’s sake. At the end of one day as she is walking out the door, she answers a call on a patient that was just brought in. Rose doesn’t hesitate and goes to meet the woman, who is named Laura Weaver (Caitlin Stasey). A week before, Laura saw her professor kill himself in front of her, and if that wasn’t enough, things haven’t been the same since. Laura claims she is seeing things and people smiling at her in a way that is not very welcoming. Rose of course believes this is because by the event she saw, but soon Laura loses it completely. Suddenly Rose witnesses Laura kill herself. Of course that sight can cause some problems, but that’s not really what is happening to Rose, something else is. Soon she to is seeing the things that Laura said she saw, and everyone in her life has taken the same skeptical positions as she did when she heard Laura’s story. Rose though digs into what is going on, and with the help of her Ex, Joel (Kyle Gallner) she is going to find out something that is nothing to smile about.

Written by Finn, who also directed. As a follow up to his short Laura Hasn’t Slept, Smile is a film that never lets you settle in, as there is just an uneasiness about it. Although it can be gimmicky, as it has what seems like a tremendous amount of jump scares, where Finn uses abrupt and loud sounds and quick-cuts to get you jumping. That amount of jumps, though while they pile up, still are entertaining and will without a doubt startle even the most seasoned horror fans. When you add the slow building tension, Smile  is very effective and will for sure give you a restless night or two.

                Smile’s  gives off both The Ring  and It Follows vibes in both its setup and the way this is passed from person to person. Although it does do that, Smile  does not feel like a copycat and instead uses that familiarity to its advantage. Finn also forgoes CGI, for go ‘ole practical effects , which makes what you see that more scary. Adding in some exceptional camera shots, Smile  feels like elevated horror in a sense. Finn is for sure a connoisseur or horror and movies in general, and that comes across plainly. He is aware enough to know why people go to certain horror movies. And this one is sure to satisfy many of the differing horror palates.

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