“Smile:” The new psychological horror movie


Caitlin Stasey in Smile(2022) Source: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15474916/mediaviewer/rm42893 3377/

Let’s face it. Horror movies these days are unfavorable. You really can’t find a decent movie without someone exaggerating how good it is just for it to be anticlimactic. Social media isn’t really reliable when it comes to movies and shows. Everyone has different opinions along with their ‘’scare meter,” but some can be a large exaggeration. Social media has oversaturated movies to the point that you don’t know what movies fit into the bad or good category, “so” you “may” waste your time “and money” for absolute”ly no” reason.

The horror genre has evolved over the years- each decade bringing something new to the table. We’re yet to know what this decade is bringing. But we can attempt to decode that by looking at the newly released movie “Smile.” 

First, let’s talk about some background information about “Smile.” It stars Sosie Bacon as Dr. Rose Cotter, Caitlin Stasey as Laura Weaver, Jessie T. Usher as Trevor, Kyle Gallner as Joel and Rob Morgan as Robert tally. It has been over social media because a lot of people have been talking about how frightening it is or not.

Smile is about a psychiatrist named Dr. Rose Cotter who witnesses her patient commit suicide due to an alleged entity in the room. Rose begins to experience terrifying visions and then begins to believe she is being haunted by the entity herself. 

Smile was based on the short film “Laura hasn’t slept” that was also made by Parker Finn. “Laura hasn’t slept” is starred by Caitlin Stasey who is also in “Smile”. According to IMDb, The short film is about a woman named Laura, who hasn’t slept in a while. Her recurring nightmare makes her believe that she will find her end should she ever see the true face of the man who’s after her night after night. In the movie “Smile” Laura is taken to the hospital due to witnessing the suicide of her professer and is met by Dr. Rose cotter, where she then commits suicide in front of her.

This movie grabbed viewers attention with its original yet inspired plot, taking inspiration from things like The Ring and It Follows. The trailer and advertisement was very chilling and interesting to people. It was very successful making $166.9 million in the box office, and was doing the best in theaters out of the other movies out. But is it worth the praise? According to Ian Ortiz, a student at iSchool who has seen the movie, He says, “I hated the plot to begin with, it’s very cheesy. But I do believe it had a good arc (from what I learned in TV Show Creation) There was one plot twist.”

For me “Smile” was one of those movies that were anticlimactic. Sophomore Angela Rosendo says, “I think that horror movies have become more about jump scares than the plot and that decreased the quality of movies and made them scary but incomprehensible.” They make a very important point and this also relates to what I was talking about. The movie plot could have been better, but the movie was less focused on the plot and more on making viewers “creeped out”. The movie quality just wasn’t the best. It could have been better if it was focused more on the idea of a psychological thriller than a horror. But instead they relied on cheap jumpscares. But even then there weren’t many. The cgi was off when she was in her childhood home.

There were only a few tense and thrilling scenes, and they were fun when they lasted, even comedic when it wasn’t at all. 

The movie was more about the main character saying that she was experiencing horrifying things when really there were only two short scenes of it. They were telling instead of showing. This is a shame because a highlight of the movie to me was a scene where the main character’s therapist came over, and after talking for a moment, the main character gets a call from her therapist at home. She then realizes that the person in the room is the entity, and the entity gives a haunting smile. More scenes like that would’ve made the movie much more enjoyable. 

Another thing I believe was a disappointment was the ending. I found it predictable, and the movie left me with nothing. There was a plot twist towards the end that had me in shock for a little, but the ending could have been much better; it felt like the main character did a whole journey just to comply with the curse. 

As I said earlier, more eerie scenes could have been included in the movie. They could have gone all out with some of the scenes to make them more memorable, but they kind of played it safe, making the same thing happen each scene. 

Secondly, They could have dived deeper into the characters. We hardly knew anything about our main character, making it difficult to care much about what happened to her. The movie also could’ve gone deeper into her trauma. All we got from the movie is that her mom wasn’t the best and how her sister left it could’ve shown what got to that point

I had very high expectations for this movie due to the advertisement and what everyone else said. I would recommend this movie to watch. It’s not scary, it’s something light. It would be great to watch with friends. Some parts were comedic when it wasn’t supposed to be. Is this movie a trainwreck? Not at all. It can be a fun experience for anyone, and it’s always good to see a small horror movie break out at the box office. But certain movies can leave you frustrated, especially with a story that has a lot of potential like this one. ischool senior, Dayanara Guzman said, ”I believe that the horror genre has evolved over the years by creating a cycle of rinse and repeat of movies and the sequels made of them.”This contribute to my idea that “Smile” was original and I loved it, it’s new and not some silly sequel to a movie that was a one hit wonder. 

“Smile” would get a 7/10 on my scale.