Review: Parker Finn’s “Smile”

New hit horror movie, “Smile,” starring Sosie Bacon, has both traumatized and captivated the public with its gory scenes and intense jump scares keeping viewers on the edge of their seat.

Even before the film’s release, it was able to catch the public’s attention in a unique form of advertising – hiring people to smile in a fashion similar to the movie at a major league baseball game. This frightening advertising stunt was extremely effective, further spreading through social media making people more interested in the film. 

Roxy Amirie, sophomore, repeatedly saw the exciting advertisements that encouraged her to go see the film. 

“I didn’t even know what it was about, I just went anyway because I saw it on TikTok.” Amirie said. “Smile is super fun and thrilling, especially if you’re with friends.” 

“Smile” is breaking records, topping North American charts and making an astonishing 22 million dollars in ticket sales alone, a stark contrast compared to other psychological thrillers recently released in theaters such as “Don’t Worry Darling,” which has made only 7.3 million dollars in comparison.

The film gained a tremendous amount of popularity since its release because of its deliberate plotline that enthralled the audience and kept them engaged throughout the movie. 

The movie starts off with the protagonist, Dr. Rose Cotter, witnessing her patient’s gruesome suicide, releasing an evil entity that possesses innocents and causes hallucinations of people smiling. Taking control of Cotter’s body, the being tells her she’s going to die and she struggles with trying to defeat the monster as many people in her life accuse her of being insane, including her own fiancé and sister. 

Terrified for herself, Cotter investigates this phenomenon in an attempt to end the cycle, discovering that if one witnesses a suicide, then the entity takes over them, and the only way to rid of is to murder another. Throughout the film, we see Cotter frantically trying to get rid of the supernatural entity and watch as the psychiatrist slowly dissolves into madness. 

The movie highlights mental health by revolving the movie around suicides. “Smile” introduces the main character as a therapist for a psychiatric residential hospital. Many characters accused Dr. Cotter of going crazy because of her abnormal actions while the entity had taken over her and thought she was mentally ill. This invalidation from her loved ones caused Dr. Cotter to feel even more isolated.

The theme of isolation and invalidation is common for teens who were the target market for this movie. Many people can relate to Dr. Cotter’s feeling of being alone which can make viewers feel more connected to her fate. This theme in the movie can emotionally captivate the audience which is what makes “Smile” different from many other films.

Not only is the audience experiencing a horror movie in a unique way, the main character is also strongly affected by these repeating suicides due to her past trauma. Having seen her mother kill herself increased her anxiety around suicides and she even gets visions of her mother in their old house haunting her. 

These scenes were very emotional, but also frightening for viewers. Scenes such as the demon assuming the form of Cotter’s own therapist and attacking her during an impromptu therapy session strongly disturbed the audience. 

“I was on the edge of my seat, hiding around my blanket half the time. It was a roller coaster of emotions,” Chapman said. “I was afraid to be home alone for a week.”

“Smile” not only had an intriguing plot but it was well produced. Many viewers felt it could happen in real life due to how realistic it was crafted to be. The movie also didn’t get tedious as some horror movies get. The continuous shocking elements of the movie made sure no viewer was bored. 

“It was very well made,” Chapman said. “They had a good variety of jump scares.”

“Smile” has left viewers feeling horrified, disturbed, traumatized, emotional, and more. From the creepy advertisements to the gruesome scenes, “Smile” is a thriller everyone should see.