After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. As an overwhelming terror begins taking over her life, Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.
What We Thought:
Have you seen The Ring or the Japanese original Ringu? How about It Follows? Steven Soderbergh’s Unsane? Well basically you’ve seen Smile then. If you like those movies you’ll also like Smile. It’s the latest psychological horror flick that relies on jump-scares and a weird factor that will have the audience talking back to the screen.
Going into the movie I had no idea what it was about. I had not seen a trailer, but simply knew it was a horror movie. It’s that time of year for horror releases and I had heard this was very good. It is good, but it also isn’t. I’ll explain why without spoilers.
First of all the movie is very well made. It was shot wonderfully, the performers are all good especially its lead Sosie Bacon. She 100% captures your attention and holds it throughout which is great because it’s a slow-burn film. Despite it being a slow-burn it doesn’t necessarily feel slow. The pacing is good despite the fact that most of the movie you sit there waiting for it to go off-the-rails. The score is solid and from all technical aspects it’s a perfectly fine and watchable film.
Unfortunately it’s just not my favorite subgenre of horror. Jump-scares do not work for me. Movies like The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity have destroyed horror because now everyone uses their techniques. Opening a window blind and seeing an entity in the parking lot isn’t scary. That same entity standing in a doorway or another part of the house isn’t scary. The crowd loves it, but it has simply never been my thing. I don’t believe in paranormal/supernatural elements so using it in a psychological thriller where the main character has a breakdown will not keep me on the edge of my seat. In fact I sit there waiting for the big reveal and guessing it along the way.
Overall I didn’t mind watching Smile, but I can’t see myself watching it again. Sosie Bacon gives a performance on par with Claire Foy in Unsane and I expect her to gain more momentum in her career because of it. It just feels too much like The Ring and It Follows to me. You witness something then in a few days something bad is going to happen to you unless you can pass it on to someone else by doing something bad. It’s a perfect combination of those two movies. I do think it will do well at the box office for a smaller film. People are ready for scary movies and although I hadn’t seen the trailer it had been pushed all summer long before Top Gun: Maverick. I would not be surprised if it overperforms at the box office.