No frowns for ‘Smile’

Parker Finn shines a creepy supernatural horror film to light


Photo courtesy of IMBD

New horror movie ‘Smile’ comes out to please horror lovers

Michael Bartholomew, Staff Reporter

After witnessing a traumatic, eccentric incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) begins to experience supernatural visions, yet very real events, that turn her life into a living nightmare. Rose must learn to escape the terrifying fears by entering her mind into her traumatizing past.

Released just this past Friday, Sept. 30, 2022, “Smile” was brought into theaters around the world in hopes to fill fans with horror. After other films of this genre have flopped at the box office this year, Yet “Smile” hasn’t even begun to frown, by surpassing “Bros” for the number one spot, and gaining 22 million dollars in just the opening weekend. With that being said, Rotten Tomatoes added on with a 76% score which is spectacular for a movie of this sort.

Warning: Some spoilers ahead.

At the opening of the film, we find Dr. Rose Cotter, working in a psychiatric hospital dedicating her life to helping patients. After working with patient Carl Renken (Jack Sochet) who we see periodically throughout the film. Rose was called in to help with a new patient who had just been brought in, Laura Weaver (Caitlin Stasey). As Rose entered the room to visit with her, Laura was seen clearly in distress, as we see her beg Rose for help, and repeatedly tell her she isn’t crazy. Laura begins to explain how her college professor committed suicide right in front of her while showing a toothy, jaw to jaw, creepy smile. I mean who wouldn’t be horrified. Right after they sit down to talk, Laura’s chair suddenly strikes backwards to the ground. Instantly I was clenching my jaw hard now as the surprisingly loud sound effects blew the whole audience into shock. Usually when watching horror films I don’t get too scared but all at once this introduction had me on the edge of my seat. Laura then began to stand up, and with a piece of glass gathered from the shattered table,  sliced herself in the face creating a crescent like shape, showing not a sad face, nor grimacing pain, but a horrifying, remembering smile. 

At this point I was confused, yet intrigued to see what this brings to the film’s plot. It had me not only hooked, but honestly pretty panic-stricken as I was really not expecting this level of disturbance, especially this early on. I knew from this opening scene that I was in for a good horror. 

While this eary smile is not new for this genre, as previously seen in the 1928 drama, The man who laughs, and also more recent films like the 2018 horror “Truth or Dare,” the film’s director  Finn was obviously trying to perceive a new version of Horror. Finn really went all out sending people to professional sporting events all week before the film came out to simply just sit there, and smile. These events had me scared just to walk into the theater, let alone watch the film so the advertising clearly worked.

After the traumatic events of Laura’s passing, Rose tried to stay positive and keep working. Yet Rose’s boss could tell she was under critical distress. Making the right choice, he sent Rose home for the week to take a mental health week. When Rose arrived home for the night, she popped open a bottle of wine, and hoped for some peace and quiet. All of the sudden she glanced up and there was a girl smiling at her, but it wasn’t just any girl it was Laura, she was making that same smile she made when she died. Then out of nowhere the house alarm went off. Rose checked the front door, nobody was there. After that she set the alarm, but noticed the back door was open, she called the cops and they searched around and found nothing. Rose’s fiance Trevor (Jesse Usher)  then came home and was honestly pretty scared of being around her, creating character conflict between the two, and creating a feel bad moment for the audience.

The loud sound effects of doors opening, and wind gushing in these scenes created suspense and a chilling creepy vibe for what was coming next. 

Throughout the next about thirty to forty-five minutes of the movie. We followed Rose as she tried to figure out how to cure herself from this curse. Joel (Kyle Gainer) Rose’s ex boyfriend, who was also a cop, helped her find a man who escaped the curse who was in prison. From there, he got her an interview to sit down with him, but after she accidentally mentioned she had the curse he flipped out and screamed at her to leave.

Rose knew what she had to do to try and escape this without anyone she cared about finding her. She headed to her childhood home house where her mother had passed. The windows were boarded up, and it was a rough sight. When we enter the climax of the film they make us honestly pretty horrified. As we go into the house we hear noises from Rose’s mom, who was obviously dead. As Rose entered her mothers room the scene flipped and Rose was a kid again, finding her dead on that bed. 

Suddenly we find Rose’s mother as a tall horrifying monster. Rose grabs a lantern and burns down the house in hopes of burning what she thought was hiding inside her mind. But all of the sudden she flipped back to reality and Joel showed up. Rose screamed and cried for him to leave as she ran back into the house that now was not burning. Joel broke down the door but it was too late, the monster crawled inside of her, and then just like what happened at the beginning of the movie, she committed suicide, right in front of Joel.

I thought this film did a great job of scaring fans and putting across a horrifying spin on a previously used concept. I thought the ratings for “Smile” were very accurate.