Smile movie review - Aussieboyreviews
IS SMILE PACKED WITH TOO MANY HORROR MOVIE CLICHÉS THAN FUN?
Despite being loaded with frequent jump-scares and the title giving you a clichéd vibe, Smile is a surprisingly good horror movie. It has plenty of psychological tension and good scare value, perfectly getting you hooked on Halloween season.
After traumatically witnessing a patient commit suicide right in front of her, a doctor begins to experience terrifying hallucinations that she can’t explain, leading her down a mystery surrounding a continuous curse.
Director: Parker Finn
Cast: Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn, Rob Morgan, Gillian Zinser
Writer: Parker Finn
Release Date (Australia): 29 September 2022
Runtime: 115 minutes/1h 55m
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)
Horror themes include a supernatural curse that causes victims to commit suicide in front of another person, traumatising them and passing on the curse. The film also features suicide and hallucination scenes.
The film contains depictions of suicide and horror violence, including a man being stabbed and a woman committing suicide by cutting down her face and neck, accompanied by spurts of blood, blood pooling and wound detail.
The film features frequent and occasionally aggressive use of the word “f**k” throughout.
The film contains a brief verbal reference to drug abuse.
R (for strong violent content and grisly images, and language)
Aussie boy's thoughts
The jump-scares in Parker Finn’s first feature may have a high frequency rate, but the psychological anxiety makes it worth showing up for. Now that the Halloween season’s coming around, this is definitely the movie you want to see with serious-minded friends and a bag of popcorn. Don’t let the clichéd title stop you from paying to watch Smile, because it delivers an edge-of-your-seat experience worth facing without spoilers in the way.
Actress Sosie Bacon gives a very strong performance as the main character, a doctor who traumatically witnesses a patient commit suicide, followed by a string of frightening hallucinations as she tries to figure out the backstory of this curse she thinks she might be under the influence of. Surprisingly, Smile is absolutely terrifying. You can predict that there’s gonna be a jump-scare coming up, but sometimes they strike earlier than you thought and give you a good jolt, and they’re never false scares. But the tension’s on even before the jump-scare as you’re just sitting on the edge of your seat waiting.
If you can get over or even handle the frequent jump-scares as well as the shock-value dream sequences, this is a psychological horror movie with an unoriginal base but an excellent execution. The hallucination are not always of people creepily smiling, but more often they’re circumstances or situations that aren’t actually happening or hallucinations of twisted and deformed human creatures.
You can really feel the film’s pacing slipping over the perfect runtime and extending some of the sequences, but it’s very entertaining and unsettling to watch. It’s worth noting that it’s a horror-mystery film similar to others like It Follows and The Ring, but it feels like a gem that only occurs every so often. It’ll be good to see if writer/director Parker Finn does any more solid features, but this movie definitely has him starting on a good roll.
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