“Smile” Leaves the Audience Scared

Official movie poster for Smile.

Temple Hill Entertainment

Official movie poster for “Smile.”

The catalyst of the film, “Smile,” occurs within its first few minutes onscreen: A severely distressed young woman named Laurie is sent to an uptight, workaholic Dr. Rose Cotter, insisting hysterically that she is being stalked by an evil, shape-shifting creature who wears “the worst smile I have ever seen in my life.” Moments later, the screen cuts from Rose’s horrified expression to a close-up of the young woman’s face, contorted by a grotesque grin. Laurie slowly picks a shard of a fallen ceramic pot off the floor and raises it to her jaw, carving a bloody arc around her own neck. 

Utterly terrorized by the event, Rose soon comes to find that the malicious smiling entity has targeted her as its next victim—and that it feeds on trauma passed from person to person. From there on, it becomes Rose’s mission—with the help of her ex-boyfriend, Joel—not only to rid herself of the malevolent presence but to stop it from spreading to anyone else. 

The film’s spectacularly unsettling premise is brought to life by its stellar acting performance. Sosie Bacon (who plays Rose) perfectly captured the heavy spirit of unrelenting fear and desperation throughout the movie. Caitlin Stasey (the young woman) and Kyle Gallner (Joel) contributed strong supporting performances that maintained the story’s intensity. However, despite the actors’ excellent execution, the film failed to deliver the genuinely bone-chilling impact of the plot’s potential; instead, it relied on frequent jump scares to keep the audience on edge. Nevertheless, the jump scares were made effective by the exceptional soundtrack and sound effects. Though there was gore in the film, these scenes didn’t rely on it to be perturbing. 

Overall, “Smile” was an intriguing and unsettling horror film—though it leans more toward being a supernatural thriller. Its captivating storyline, realistic acting, and stirring soundtrack make for a memorable viewing experience. This film will leave you frightened not only in your seat at the theater but maybe even when you look into your own mirror at home. All things considered, it’s safe to say that you’ll never see your smile the same way again.