New horror flick brings smiles

Dimitri Silva, Chief of Staff

Staring at you, a smile stretched from ear to ear. Unfazed and unmovable, a simple horror concept, both entertaining and horrifying during its entire runtime, is easily one of the best horror films released in recent years. 

With only a few complaints, Smile does everything a horror film is expected to do; it scares you. The constant jump-scares were unexpected and were perfectly integrated into every scene. 

Smile follows a doctor named Rose Cotter, whose most recent patient, Laura, describes visions she has been seeing. The images she depicts consist of an entity or demon who takes the form of people smiling at her. After the patient unexpectedly commits suicide in front of Rose, she begins to see the smiling and immediately takes action to end these horrific visions.

One of the many highlights of the film is the acting. Without much CGI in the movie, our main character, Rose, played by Sosie Bacon, is forced to utilize her incredible acting skills to exaggerate the terrifying jump-scares that make us feel concerned for her outcome. 

Other characters, such as Joel and Robert, played by Kyle Gallner and Robert Talley, also stand out with their acting. The one short scene Robert is in immediately stands out, showing his crazy reaction, screams, and worried looks when Rose breaks the news about the visions she sees. 

Kyle believes Rose about her visions and tries to help her find their origin. Kyle elevates the film’s suspense and adds comedic relief to an otherwise intense horror thriller.

On the topic of intense horror films, Smile excels in this category. With jumpscares in almost every scene, Smile causes fans to be on the edge of their seats its entire runtime. This is the point of horror films, to leave you frightened and on edge, which Smile accomplishes perfectly.

While the central concept of Smile is intense and entertaining, it shares similar plot points to movies like “It Follows” and “The Ring.” 

Both films deal with finding the origin of the antagonist, which feels predictable and uncreative. This overused plot point works for the film but lacks variety and feels like a recognizable roller coaster of events throughout its runtime.

The pacing of the film feels choppy at times. While the plot is overused, the pacing feels unexpected, which works for the horror aspect of the film, giving us the jump-scares we craved but disappoints when watching the movie for its plot and character development. If the director of Smile, Parker Finn, focused more on an improved plot instead including unnecessary dialogue scenes that seemed included just for a jumpscare.

One of these unnecessary scenes we see in the film shows a dialogue scene between Rose and her sister. All this scene accomplished was a jump-scare

 towards the end of it. No character development was achieved and no resolution to the conversation and argument was made.

With the film’s climax, we see the continuation and possible setup for a sequel, which almost ruins the film. Many horror movies suffer from a bad ending, and Smile gets close but doesn’t fall into this category. Trying to set this film up for a sequel was a wasted opportunity that was unnecessary to how strongly the movie ended.

Smile ends its film with our main character getting killed. This brilliant choice gives us an otherwise sad ending that shocked other horror fans. 

Many horror films end with the villain being defeated, so seeing a change in the stereotypical conclusions was refreshing and fit the movie perfectly. 

As a horror movie fanatic, I greatly enjoyed this film. It does what any horror movie aims to accomplish, with a fast-paced storyline, interesting and developed characters, and incredible acting. While some of the plots feel repetitive and overused, they maintain a constant sense of terror and leave you finding your hands over your eyes and your knees bundled against your chest for most of the movie.