LH Movie Review: Smile

With spooky season creeping in, new 2022 horror movie “Smile” turns grins into something grim.

Naomi Hemley and Greta Hayek

Smile, directed by Parker Finn, is arguably one of the scariest horror movies from 2022, being not just a psychological thriller but also a terrifying horror film packed with jumpscares that will leave you having trouble sleeping. The consistent unexpected jumpscares lead to round-the-clock paranoia throughout the entire movie. The psychological aspect of the film is horrifying as well. Not knowing what is real life or just another hallucination gives Smile the opportunity to make shocking twists and puzzling scenes.

The film begins with Rose, a therapist, played by Sosie Bacon, tending to a patient in emergency care. After being mostly unable to calm him down from his manic episode, she is immediately given a new patient. Laura, a college student, is traumatized from seeing her college professor brutally bludgeon himself just a week prior. She claims she is seeing smiling people that have continuously played with Laura’s mind, attempting to kill her. Even so, Rose boils it down to PTSD hallucinations rather than some haunting entity. Rose’s patient begins to freak out and as Rose calls for help, Laura uses a shard of a broken vase to kill herself in front of her, all whilst smiling.

After experiencing that traumatizing situation, Rose is understandably shaken up. She goes home and is comforted by her cat, Mustache, and her fiancé, Trevor, played by Jessie T. Usher. But after being unable to sleep, she begins to listen to the recording of her therapy session with Laura, she hears unusual breathing in the recording and tries to replay a part of the tape. While attentively listening, Rose is jump-scared by a hallucination of her dead mother, who committed suicide when Rose was a child. Throughout the week, she continues to see these “hallucinations.” They begin to take over her entire life, driving Rose to become paranoid and ruining her ability to correctly do her job. These smiling entities cause everyone in her life to turn against her with distrust, thinking that she’s crazy.

According to Parker Finn, the goal of Smile was to turn something usually considered comforting and pleasant, like a smile, into something unsettling and paranoia-inducing. Smile has many of the same aspects as It Follows, Truth or Dare, and The Ring, yet the film still manages to maintain a sort of uniqueness. The soundtrack is hair-raising and the sudden pauses in the soundtrack plunge you into complete silence– they’re enough to make anybody anxious for the next scene. Smile is a great horror movie to watch with friends or alone, especially taking into consideration the approaching of Halloween, and is overall an astounding motion picture.