Wednesday, January 11, 2023

Smile (2022)

Streaming Service: Paramount +
Movie Name/Year: Smile (2022)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Length: 1h 55min
Rating: R
Production/DistributionParamount Players, Temple Hill Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Paramount Home Entertainment
Director: Parker Finn
Writer: Parker Finn
Actors: Sosie Bacon, Kyle Gallner, Jessie T. Usher, Robin Weigert, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn, Rob Morgan, Gillian Zinser, Judy Reyes, Nick Arapoglou, Matthew Lamb
Blurb from IMDb: After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can't explain. Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.

Selina’s Point of View:
For a while, Smile was absolutely everywhere. There was more marketing for this flick than there was for anything else last year.
Hype started spinning out of control. I couldn’t turn on anything connected to the internet without hearing something amazing about it. Expectations were high.
I think that might be why I feel a bit underwhelmed now that I’ve seen it.

I’m not saying it was bad. Although a lot of it relied on jump scares, they were effective. There was also a deeper quality that went into the lasting effects of trauma and grief. It was an elevated horror dressed down to be easily digestible by the masses.
In the first half it just felt so common that I was almost bored. I certainly didn’t feel like I was getting enough out of it to warrant all that hype. Especially not after having watched The Menu (2022) for our first movie this week. If anything, I think word of mouth should be pushing that horror instead.
Still, Smile was effective and anxiety inducing. I wish I’d gone into it blind. I feel like it would have had a better experience.

Cat’s Point of View:
The most insidious sort of evil is that which wears a smile as it conspires to harm you. I was instantly down to watch a movie that built on that concept – and the trailers for Smile were unnerving as all hell.
The smiles these actors cooked up – without the aid of CGI – were simply creepy and unsettling. That particular word bears repeating. The whole film was unsettling.
Of course, there were a few jump scares along the way, but don’t knock them. Those brief moments gave a little relief to the mounting tension that began to build from the opening scene. It started off so bleak and just amplified from there with each traumatic occurrence on screen.
I anticipated a decent movie but didn’t expect how deep the theme would run. The performances, by the by, were outstanding. The reactions of fear, specifically, felt genuine. I had a visceral empathetic reaction to what the characters on screen were experiencing.

Smile explored trauma from so many angles. Further, the attention to detail was absolutely phenomenal. I’ll admit that this was my second watch-through and I picked up new little tidbits here and there that I didn’t catch the first time through. There was even a tattoo that I found significant this time around.
My nineteen-year-old daughter, who has just begun to dabble in watching horror movies with me, was intrigued enough by my explanation of the plot’s summary that she decided to also watch with me this time. Her reaction when the credits rolled could be summed up with a single quote: “What the fuck?!”
Writer and director Parker Finn (The Hidebehind, Laura Hasn't Slept) really had excellent instincts when he expanded his own original short into this feature-length adaptation. I would say Smile could even be called intelligent horror. It had something to add to the grisly deaths and sundry frights. I could see myself watching this one again and would certainly recommend it.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 80%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 77%
Metascore – 68%
Metacritic User Score – 6.6
IMDB Score –6.6/10
Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating 3.5/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating 5/5
Movie Trailer:

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