A new psychological horror film, Smile, left moviegoers with sweaty palms and racing hearts. The intense and unsettling movie was released in theaters on September 30, 2022. Spectators and critics describe Smile as the beginning of a new era in horror movies, as it surpassed many other films with its excessive use of horrifying jumpscares and unnerving themes that center around more sensitive topics.
Smile explores themes of trauma, grief, and guilt through human relationships as these traits are passed from one to another.
Throughout the movie, the audience follows through the lens of protagonist Dr. Rose Cotter as she grows insane, leading viewers with her on her journey to madness. The effects of her trauma are brilliantly shown throughout her character as the plot progresses. Rose’s passionate acting is what made scenes feel so intense. As Rose attempts to destroy an entity that is haunting her, she is left with the fact that she has to handle her dilemma by herself, as no one else is able to save her from something that they cannot see.
Director Parker Finn was inspired in June of 2020 to create an adaptation of his own short film, Laura Hasn’t Slept, in which a young woman sought the help of her therapist in a desperate attempt to rid herself of recurring nightmares. Smile stars Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Robin Weigert, Kal Penn, Rob Morgan, and Caitlin Stasey. From June 2020 to September 2022, the production team of Smile worked extremely hard to ensure the movie would be spine-chilling.
The popularity of the film skyrocketed months before its release due to creative marketing strategies. Engaging teasers and trailers including jump scares and intense moments were produced for the movie, leaving many eager for more. Additionally, “smilers”, who portray the character of the victims of a malevolent supernatural entity that takes over people and makes them perform terrible acts while grinning ear to ear were hired in preparation of the movie’s release. These “smilers” attended extremely popular events such as the Today Show along with the Yankees v. Red Sox game where they smiled maniacally with no rest. This haunting grin caught the attention of many, and bystanders unknowingly promoted the movie by sharing pictures and videos of the actors on social media.
Although the movie was a hit, director Parker Finn has made statements that suggest a sequel is not in preparation. Even so, Smile was a roaring success shown through the unnerving jump scares, passionate acting, and creative marketing.