The element of creepiness can be achieved by any meaning necessary. It could be something you see on the side of the road or something you deem uncomfortable and skin-crawling. However, what if the element of creepiness is something you see every day? Facial expressions can mean anything to people, one of the most crucial elements of being a human is emotions. Happiness is normally never scary to some people, however toothy grins like the one you see above can make people’s skin crawl. Knowing this Paramount Pictures released the horror film, Smile which came out September 30th, 2022, and was written and directed by Parker Finn.
The original idea of Smile came from a short film titled Laura Hasn’t Slept which was about a girl named Laura (played by Caitlin Stacy) seeing a therapist about a nightmare where a man gives a toothy grin to her only for it to be a demon that attacks and kills her. The film received praise for its amazing storytelling from critics and audiences. The only criticism of this was the short run time of 11 minutes. Luckily, Finn would be able to fix this problem as he decided to continue the lifespan of this short into his first ever feature length film Smile.
Smile follows the same antagonist now going after a mental health doctor, Rose Colton (played by Sosie Bacon) who’s patient had killed themselves after reporting the same entity smiling at them. She realizes that she was given the demon now must figure out a way to defeat it before she meets her end. The film has a total run time of 1 hour and 55 minutes and is Rated R. The marketing of the film was widely known from a viral stunt done during Major League Baseball games. The actors in the film would buy tickets behind home plate and with T-shirts promoting the film and the film’s signature menacing smile on camera.
Smile has been compared to other horror films like It Follows which features a demonic entity going after the female protagonist after a sadistic ritual as well as The Ring which features a female protagonist studying and trying to defeat the demon that is after her. When asked about Smile and how it varies in the horror genre, Ross Cline of the student body had this to say:
Smile proves its difference from the editing, cinematography, and the story pacing unfolding. However, the film is very brutal to sit through due to the brutality of deaths in the movie. However other films tend to push the envelope of brutality just like Smile does whether it be for the audience to feel a connection for the characters, whether it be pure hatred or sympathy for them. Ross Cline had this to say about his favorite part of the film:
The film’s success has led to a sequel being greenlit which will be titled Smile 2 and is planned to be released on October 18th, 2024. This reporter advises this movie to be viewed to those who love getting spooked or a story being unfolded by compelling characters. Although Smile did not come out in October, this movie has proven that anything can be scary. The film will live on in the hearts of horror fans and in the minds of casual movie fans. The movie will either have you smiling for joy or crying for the credits.
by Kaleb Watson