Does “Smile” make horror fans happy? Spoiler-free Review

Smile is a psychological horror film from Paramount Pictures directed by Parker Finn in his directorial debut. The film stars Sosie Bacon, daughter of actor Kevin Bacon, as a therapist who experiences a traumatic event that involves a patient and soon her mind begins to slowly descend into madness.

As a fan of horror/suspense films, I find psychological thrillers to be the most interesting. A movie that preys on the darkest fears of our minds is something that can truly make it fun to be scared. Smile delivers in that aspect. While we have had other films of this genre (such as the Saw franchise), Parker Finn’s piece brings something new to the table in a time where it seemed that the horror film genre was dying out. Smile makes excellent use of jumpscares that come at the precise time one would expect them to even if they know that it is going to happen. Even though I can pretty much predict when a jumpscare is going to happen, I was still surprised. It still got me, and I like that. What Smile did more was getting the audience involved. To hear people talk to the main character on screen, advising them of the unforeseen danger lurking around the corner or reacting when said character make an obvious bad choice proves that this movie is doing something remarkable.

Sosie Bacon does an excellent job of portraying a person infected with a dark entity that is slowly stripping away her sanity while she struggles to retain her mentality, which can be conflicting for someone whose job is helping those with mental illness. Her performance makes her character believable, and, at some points, you feel for them and even try to help them despite knowing their impending fate. Having Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick as parents may have helped her with her portrayal of Dr. Rose Cotter.

Overall, Smile delivers when it comes to psycho thrillers. Usually, films of this genre deal with a protagonist who is already mentally unstable whereas Smile portrays a person is mentally sound before they descend into the darkness as well. Interestingly, Rose Cotter struggles to hold onto what remains of her sanity while simultaneously denying to demons of her past and Sosie Bacon does an excellent job of conveying this and several other emotions. Smile, in the spirit of other psychological thrillers such as The Ring and Ju-On franchises, prove that tradition of playing with people’s emotion through cinema is not dead.

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