The Smile will hit cinemas on September 30, 2022.
“Smile even if your heart is in pain; smile even though it is broken.” These well-meaning words of comfort couldn’t seem more sinister once you see them smilingintroducing a supernatural psychological horror that, while not reinventing the wheel, still manages to elicit tension every time anyone smiles.
This potent, disturbing, relentless nightmare that tells the terrifying story of Dr. Rose Cotter (Susie Bacon), a therapist who finds her entire world turned upside down when she begins to crumble under the stigma of mental health. A young girl witnessed her college professor’s suicide, and when their first session takes a bizarre and shocking turn, Cotter now appears to be seeing the same hallucinations reported by her patient–a sinister smiling face that appears throughout their daily lives and haunts them with disturbing visions.
If the introduction sounds familiar, it’s because it’s been done so many times before. Easy to make comparisons with FollowBeside the ring And the grudge. But where these films seem to have inspired Smile, director Parker Finn uses our knowledge of their worn-out fields to make something a little different, that doesn’t mean Smile is an entirely original movie – it just isn’t. But it is veering in an interesting new direction.
Finn establishes his fearsome and lopsided view of the world almost instantly through quirky photography work that sets an awkward tone. Sure, it’s not the most accurate metaphor—sometimes, Cotter’s world is literally turned upside down with almost inverted landscape shots. But this wonderful trick that seems to be borrowed from the likes of hereditary It instantly puts us on edge and makes us more sympathetic to Cotter’s faltering mental state as a result.
Likewise, hopping fears begin as a simple way to keep us alert, but slowly toward something bigger. Soon they come thick and fast, with plenty of tricks and fake ideas to get rid of us. And that’s when you start to realize that almost repeating these hilarious moments is doing something else entirely. It sets the unsettling stage with a creeping paranoia that only makes us wonder what’s going on around every corner.
The horror itself is tamed by comparison, but that doesn’t matter. The whole point is to keep us nervous throughout the entire movie while you second guess where the horror of the next jump comes from…and the really fun part is that you rarely get it right.
These intriguing little touches make a smile so much more than a cheap scare. Instead, he brags about his ability to make you feel bad. The bloody and visceral nature of the deaths is offset by the eerie, ethereal void of the faces of their victims. Finn absolutely fills in the creeping dread of the mental health professional who Known She won’t be taken seriously and explores the stigma of depression and anxiety while Cotter battles an uphill battle with those around her.
Sosie Bacon is an absolute thrill to watch the ever-declining Dr. Cotter, with a stunning performance that reaches the heart of mental health anxiety while establishing the utter hysteria haunted by a supernatural entity. Jesse T Asher, meanwhile, is just as believable as Trevor, Rose’s new friend who thinks she’s going crazy. Brilliantly paced Rob Morgan’s brief appearance goes from rational to utterly terrified in the blink of an eye.
Best horror movies so far in 2022