Smile Film Review


Kadriana Aliyah Colon, Staff Writer

“Smile” is potentially one of the best horror movies of the year. It’s not a run of the mill scary movie despite the hanging decapitation  jump scare in the trailer, making it appear as one. Although it does have jumpscares, the film manages to make them interesting and effective. And the jumpscares that are cliche still get a good scare out of you. Also, the scares aren’t just from the creature directly. The way it terrorizes people has its victims incredibly helpless.  word better That and the almost immediate empathizing with Rose, our lead, makes you more invested. You’re not just waiting for her to die, you want her to figure out what this creature is and if she’ll be able to fight it off. 

“Smile” centers on psychiatrist Dr. Rose Cotter, who after witnessing a freshly admitted patient, Laura Weaver, commit a violent suicide. Right before this happens Laura confides to Rose about a smiling figure haunting her. Appearing as a person, even somebody she knows is dead, and soon it will force her to commit suicide. Right after this happens Laura violently commits suicide with an unnerving smile on her face. While staring at Rose. After witnessing Laura’s bloody suicide, the disturbing and traumatic incident has Rose haunted by the same creature Laura said was after her.

The film succeeds at making it feel like she has almost nowhere to turn. Greatly helped by Sosie Bacon’s performance as Rose, her vulnerability and terror feels authentic. Bacon makes Rose a lead who is easy to empathize/sympathize with and while she may overdo it on the tears, it’s understandable as to why. She tells her therapist, her fiance, even her older sister about what’s happening to her. Expectedly, none of them believe her and think she’s having a much belated nervous breakdown from finding her mother’s body after committing suicide. Exacerbated by witnessing Laura’s violent suicide. One of the very few people who believes and tries to help Rose is her cop ex-boyfriend, Joel, played by Kyle Gallner.  Joel and Rose uncover more about the creature and about how to fight it off. The scenes with these two besides giving some hope also answer questions on how the figure hasn’t been defeated. Resulting in the film’s premise being slightly more believable. Although there is one glaring plot hole that isn’t really answered. This does not detract from the enjoyment of the film.

The film delving into a deeper topic of trauma, particularly of someone you love committing suicide, might for some. Especially at the end, due to a roughly 4 minute scene. I don’t think it’s handled badly but it can strike a chord for some who have personal experience with something so serious. The scene is not handled perfectly but it’s relatively satisfying Helping ramp up the tension in the before a more direct confrontation between Rose and the villain. So its handling isn’t immediately on your mind. Once you get a glimpse at what the creature actually looks like you just wonder what’s gonna happen next.

“Smile” is a good horror movie, in big part because you care and want our lead to win. Something that is rather rare for horror movies. As is effective jump scares, lack of dumb characters, orginal plot, ultimately delivering more than one would suspect (dont add maybe  from a horror movie). There is a lot of creativity put into “Smile”, although there are a few similarities to an unconventional horror film of the last decade. It doesn’t detract from a well made horror film with an ending you’re definitely not expecting.