‘Smile’ is Another Soulless Horror Movie


“Smile” is the psychological horror directorial debut from Parker Finn. The film stars Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner and Rob Morgan, and has quickly become one of the highest grossing films of the year. (Photo Courtesy of Timberwolf Agency)

Jack Polishook, Reporter

“Smile” is the latest horror box office hit and debut film by director Parker Finn and like many other recent horror movies, it’s incredibly uninspired, filled with goofy acting and is downright laughable at points where it really shouldn’t be. The film revolves around therapist Dr. Rose Cotter (played by Sosie Bacon) as she begins to see strange occurrences and visions following a gruesome chain of events. 

The movie begins with the titular main character as she deals with constant stress and challenges faced by her job at the hospital and the patients she deals with, until she is suddenly faced with an extremely disturbed patient detailing the various smiling figures she keeps seeing. Eventually, the patient succumbs to whatever is following her, and commits suicide with an unnerving smile on her face. This event begins to spiral into Dr. Rose discovering some entity that has begun to follow her in the same way it followed the patient. 

From the beginning, the movie wants you to take itself extremely seriously, more so than it really is. The bleak, almost claustrophobic cinematography, showing the apocalyptic environment that is New Jersey, is actually really effective at first and does a great job of setting up the atmosphere. The music also perfectly paints a picture of the increasingly manic mind state of the main character, to the point where it’s one of the best elements of the movie. But these elements pail in comparison to the dog water that is the rest of this movie. 

One of the quickest things I noticed about the film is how derivative it is. The film tries to explore the vast concept of trauma and how it affects people, a topic that is usually done to death, but usually isn’t nuanced enough to say anything truly meaningful or impactful, and “Smile” is no different. Plus, with the sometimes ridiculous dialogue and character choices, the film is impossible to take seriously.

To put it bluntly, the main character is not the brightest. She basically explains her situation to her friends and family in the most laughable way possible. To take directly from the movie, “It’s like I’m Cursed!” The movie also includes some pretty underwhelming performances, including Trevor, played by Jessie T. Usher and the aforementioned Sosie Bacon, who both deliver dull dialogue like they’re reading the script off a grocery list. 

Ultimately, “Smile” brings nothing new to the table and is a waste of two hours and 14 bucks for the ticket. Watch “It Follows” because it’s a much better film with a very similar plot, just executed in a much better and more unsettling way. I would have simply just closed my eyes.