Is “Smile” the new horror movie of the year?

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Photo courtesy Paramount Pictures

Sosie Bacon stars in Paramount Pictures Presents in Association with Paramount Players A Temple Hill Production “SMILE”

“Smile” may be triggering for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.

The highly anticipated horror and psychological thriller, “Smile,” hit theaters on Sept. 30. The film was Parker Finn’s feature directorial debut, and he did not disappoint.  

The movie follows Dr. Rose Cotter, portrayed by Sosie Bacon, a therapist who witnesses one of her patients gruesomely kill themselves while presenting a horrifying ear-to-ear smile. We see Rose experience pathologically twisted hallucinations that leave the hairs on the audience’s arms standing up. 

Bacon’s performance exceeded expectations and it’s possible she has found her spot in the film industry with horror movies. There wasn’t a moment in the movie where her performance lacked, she was incredibly believable as a petrified woman who was going through serious issues regarding her well-being. 

While Bacon outdid herself, so did some of the other leading actors. Particularly, Kyle Gallner, who plays Joel, the helpful, police officer friend to Rose, shined just as bright. He gave a memorable performance that had movie-goers mentioning his work well after the movie ended. 

The plot of the movie flowed very well. You won’t find yourself too confused with what is going on as far as the storyline goes. However, with the plot being founded upon psychosis and trauma, you will find yourself watching a film with an underlying theme of “your trauma doesn’t stop ruining your life until you die.” Such themes may leave a sour taste in some viewers’ mouths, as trauma can be something you heal and grow from, not stay tormented by forever. It’s important to take note of such a prevalent theme and recognize it as fiction. 

Though the idea of the movie is to use creepy smiles as a gimmick, it certainly didn’t achieve its desired effect in select scenes. The smiles the characters sported hoped to frighten audiences by taunting them, however, in certain scenes, it was met with laughter rather than a shiver of fear. 

However, despite its cheesy moments, the movie as a whole was petrifying. When Bacon’s character was experiencing something that finally felt like a break from her torment, the audience relaxed with her, and when the scene turned out to be a hallucination itself, viewers felt as though they were hallucinating right along with her. No one ever knew what was real and what wasn’t, keeping everyone on the edge of their seats. 

If you aren’t one for gore, it’s best to stay far away from this movie. Most scenes are incredibly graphic, leaving those with the strongest of stomachs feeling nauseated. The director did not shy away from keeping things unbearable. All the graphics were so real and detailed, that it’s important to know what you are getting yourself into before watching. 

That’s the fun of a horror movie, to never know if the character will make it out alive. Literally. 

This movie did not disappoint as a horror film. While the themes in the movie had some kinks that could’ve been altered, it was a genuinely good movie. It is certainly one of the more twisted horror movies out there, with jump scares and gore around every corner, it’s sure to keep you up at night. 

“Smile” is now in theaters. 

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