North Texas Daily

‘Smile’ is persuasive with scares galore

‘Smile’ is persuasive with scares galore

‘Smile’ is persuasive with scares galore
October 08
13:00 2022

At some point, 2022’s horror genre run will come to an end, but “Smile” ensures that day is not anytime soon. Director Parker Finn has created something so unapologetically scary and made solely for adrenaline seekers.

It certainly isn’t perfect, but “Smile” knows its strengths and sticks to them. If you are looking to start October off right, this fright-filled experience is enough to leave any horror fan grinning ear to ear.

Dr. Rose Cotter is haunted after a devastating interaction with one of her patients turns lethal. No one believes her story, leaving her vulnerable and terrified. Whatever is stalking Rose looks to take her life, but not before ruining every aspect of it in the process.

Sosie Bacon plays our main character, Rose. Bacon does a phenomenal job giving the audience someone to latch onto. From the beginning, it is clear something supernatural is happening to Rose. When dealing with ghosts and spirits, authenticity is reliant on the main character’s performance, and Bacon makes everyone believe.

Kyle Gallner also crushes it. His character, Joel, is an ex-boyfriend looking to make things right. Gallner and Bacon have fantastic chemistry, especially when every other character in the film has some strange hatred toward Rose. 

 It’s hard to mold this as a compliment, but “Smile” is a movie you should leave your brain at home for. The film tries its best to attempt a grand message. “Smile” has no right to be nearly two hours long. Some sections of the film could have been cut out entirely. However, it sticks the landing almost perfectly when it comes to making you feel every type of fear.

“Smile” sacrifices a large chunk of focus on storytelling in order to emphasize scarring the audience. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it quickly becomes obvious how the movie will play out. Audiences are usually able to anticipate what type of scare is being set up, and this film knows that better than anyone. The intense build-up leading into a classic fake-out is just as horrific as multiple scares coming at you one after another. 

All horror in this film is elevated by the nauseating sound design. It’s overwhelming in the best way possible, but equal moments of silence are just as unsettling. To craft scares with this much effort and care is impressive and definitely worth the price of admission alone.

Even with its flaws, “Smile” is still one of the scariest movies in the last decade. If it were to spawn some sort of franchise, a likely successful sequel would give them a chance to smooth out any minor problems.

The more you sit with it, the more you appreciate it. Especially because some of the visuals will become inescapable from your head.

Instead of one or two iconic scares, “Smile” makes a case for every scare to be just as important as the last. Segments will make you scream, others will make you squirm. Having a film this unsettling be the one to kick off October truly is a treat.

Don’t be fooled, the trailers may give off campy energy, but “Smile” is sadistic from start to finish. Sometimes the world needs a movie that does nothing but scare us. No need for compelling characters or a coherent plot — just give the world something with a mean number of scares.

For those who think the quality of a horror film is measured by how scary it is, look no further. Original horror films have taken over 2022. While “Smile” may not be the best of the best, it certainly helps solidify this year as the greatest the genre has ever seen.

Jaden’s Rating: 3.5/5

Featured Illustration by Allie Garza

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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