With a phenomenal performance from Sosie Bacon, Smile is a twisting journey through the darker recesses of the human psyche. The generous helping of jump scares is served up with delicious psychological tension, making Smile the movie on everybody’s lips in 2022.
Smile – What it’s all About
After witnessing a patient brutally killing herself, Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) finds herself in the middle of a malevolent chain, forged by an evil force. The good doctor soon realizes she’s just the latest link and embarks on a mission to break the chain once and for all.
However, time isn’t on her side and the clock is ticking. If Rose can’t end the nightmare within a week, she will fall victim to the same fate as those before her and kill herself in the goriest way possible, leaving one witness to become the latest link.
Smile is a Psychological Whirlwind
With the protagonist being a doctor of psychology, there was little doubt from the off that Smile would tread the all-too-taboo paths of mental health. The movie draws on an emotion, conjured up through clever camera angles; unmelodic, cacophonic soundbites and a twisting narrative that had us guessing the very sanity of the hapless protagonist – paranoia.
All of these elements of Smile work together to accentuate the feelings of paranoia and suspense in the viewer. This simmering pot of psychological horror is a true testament to director, Parker Finn. Throughout Smile, it’s abundantly clear that Finn understands the importance of playing on the audience’s emotions.
Smile Occasionally Lacks Pace
As interesting as the plotline of Smile is, it can at times start to feel a little drawn out. While there are plenty of scares to punctuate the narrative, a handful of scenes could come dangerously close to losing the interest of some viewers. These all seem like unnecessary bits of “fluff”, existing only to add more needless minutes towards the 115-minute runtime.
The occasional lack of pace is almost a crying shame. Smile could quite easily have been covered in the standard 90-minutes. This would have given the movie a breathless and erratic pace, drawing further on viewer emotions and holding the interest of those with less patience.
Despite the above, Smile is still an incredible feature-length debut for Parker Finn. Using his 2020 short, Laura Hasn’t Slept, to draw inspiration from was a decision that will pave the director’s future with bricks of solid gold.
Bacon is Brilliant
Whether it be on a greasy cheeseburger, or starring in a psychological horror, Bacon is brilliant. Sosie’s portrayal of a field professional, slowly sliding into the dark abyss of paranoia and psychosis was unforgettable. Being fans of Kevin Bacon here at Horrify, it was great to see the acting gene has been passed down to his daughter. Her deft execution of the wide array of emotions during Smile started to make her grief and turmoil our own.
Smile is the must-watch horror movie of 2022. Yes, it does last a little too long, but not to the extent of making it a bore fest; even in the slower moments, you will still find yourself waiting for a jump scare or for that creepy broad grin to make an appearance.
Despite the occasional check-your-watch moment, Smile delivers scare after scare and offers up an insight into the darker side of the human mind. Parker Finn has set the bar for horror movies coming in 2023
Smile is out in cinemas but debuts today on Paramount+. Volume up and lights off, enjoy the highest-earning original horror movie of 2022, and from the comfort of your own home.