Will ‘Smile’ be the Halloween Hit of the Year?

Sam Dare, Staff Writer

After much advertisement, Smile is finally out in theaters, and it is as disturbing as the trailers make it out to be. The movie is director Parker Finn’s major directorial debut, starring Josie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, and Kyle Gallner as Joel, It is director Parker Finn’s major directorial debut. The movie was one of the scarier movies released in a while, chock full of jump scares.

Smile, a popular new horror movie, was released in movie theaters nationwide on September 30th, 2022. (Felix Mooneeram)

The movie opens with the introduction of Josie Bacon as the main character Dr. Rose Cotter, a psychiatrist for an emergency psychiatric ward. She deals with a variety of mentally ill patients, and a new one walks in, freaking out about a smiling entity that follows her. Everything hits the fan from there, with the smiling entity transferring to Rose, haunting her and forcing her to confront her past. The movie leaned heavily on themes of trauma and guilt, and how they can follow people for lifetimes.

Smile accomplished everything a horror movie needs to do. Personally, I don’t get scared often when I watch horror movies, but this one made me more than a little nervous. Jump scare after jump scare in this movie, yet you never seemed to get tired of them. It was a scary ride.

Unfortunately, the movie fell short in many aspects. The plot seemed thin. Acting, outside a select few characters, was plastic at best. The action hit a lull for the majority of the movie. The cinematography used creative shots but overall felt bland. The film didn’t take any bold stylistic risks, which, to be fair, isn’t always a bad thing.

The film emphasizes the dark side of trauma and mental illnesses. (Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona)

There also wasn’t any character development at all. It seemed to use many aspects of my indie horror favorite, It Follows, to the point I would occasionally forget which one I was watching. Without spoiling anything, the ending was unexpected and exciting, but didn’t feel satisfying or, in all honesty, good.

But despite all of this, it is one of the scarier horror movies I’ve seen in a while. I’m a harsh critic, but I would give this movie a light 5.5/10, which I believe is a pretty decent rating, especially for a horror movie. It had flaws, but in the end, it did what it needed to do as a horror movie, which was to be scary, tense, and fun.