Smile (2022) Poster

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An Uneasy Study On Madness Passed On Through Trauma
statuskuo1 October 2022
It's hard to shake the uneasy feeling of this film. It's grim and foggy but at the core is the idea that when trauma is passed from person to person it will consume you. With that in hand, director Parker Finn plays on the idea that most people who suffer through awful events in life will have their past consume them if they don't confront them. Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) is a clinical psychologist who surrounds herself with the mentally broken people of New Jersey (add your own joke here). You can basically connect the dots as to how she became good at her job. One fateful day a girl comes into her office and gruesomely ends her own life. That launches Sosie's journey into her own madness. Slowly seeing things in her life. Or being haunted by voices of her past. Whatever it is knows her greatest pains. And exploits it. The mystery isn't completely satisfying to solve, but the constant moments of jerky jumpscares definitely make you feel on edge.

What I particularly like is the uneasy camera work. It isn't afraid to linger long within the frame. Nor add dutch angles. It plays like 70's cinema. The frames make you squirm. Though much of the scares are telegraphed. This isn't a slasher gory flick. It's really a psychological mind bender. As mentioned before, the resolution won't make you happy. But then, it really is watching someone work through their own mental illness. If that is interesting to you, this is the movie for you.
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I can't stop smiling...
FeastMode1 October 2022
I can't stop smiling at the mastery of filmmaking on display in Smile. The directing is topnotch. All of the technical aspects are pristine, especially the sound design. The musical score greatly enhances the mood. Even something as simple as transition shots are stunning. It's visually elite.

I can't stop smiling at how ridiculously scary this movie is. I'm a 37-year-old man who has seen hundreds of horror flicks of all types. And yet this movie had me on edge from beginning to end. At points I was paranoid that someone was standing off to the side in the shadows of the theater. It continued afterwards, when I was startled by what turned out to be the shadow of the car behind me. And then again when the curbside lady brought my food out. I can't remember the last time a movie did this to me.

I can't stop smiling at stumbling upon what might be my favorite movie of the year. I went in, as usual, without watching any trailers or looking up reviews/ratings. I had no expectations and was fully blown away. I was either smiling or had my jaw dropped for most of the runtime.

I can't stop smiling at how impactful some of these scenes and moments are. I will never forget them. They are seared into my brain forever. Whoever came up with them, whoever designed them has to be some combination of genius and possibly disturbed. I love it. Maybe I'm disturbed too.

I jumped about 20 times. None of the jump scares are cheap. They are all creative and earned. The few that are predictable still startle. I sometimes laughed afterwards at how bad it got me.

I had a blast with Smile. It's not for the faint of heart or horror novices. For everyone else, for horror fans, for people who want high-quality cinema, this is the movie for you. (2 viewings, opening Friday UltraScreen 9/30/2022, UltraScreen 10/6/2022)
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Worst. Therapist. Ever.
Victor_Fallon3 November 2022
Sosie Bacon plays an incompetent therapist who mutters platitudes and stands about doing precisely nothing while bad things happen to her patients.

After demonstrating her inability to administer basic first aid to anyone within a fifty mile radius, she catches a case of the spooks. The spooks then follow her around being all creepy and not doing much, perhaps as an ironic form of mockery. None of the characters, supernatural or otherwise, seem to be any good at their jobs.

This is dimwitted nonsense, but it's excellently produced. Decent acting, good cinematography, tight editing and engaging direction. It's a good time, despite the braindead characters, copy-paste writing, appalling dialogue and endless cliches. It's an amusing and occassionally effective pulpy jumpy horror - a highly polished turd that is so shiny you stop noticing the smell.

Worth a watch, once, just for fun.
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It Swallows...
Xstal3 November 2022
You never know when it's your turn, to watch another being squirm, as they shuffle off their coil, passing on to you turmoil, which will overwhelm and steal, all your passion and your zeal, just no way to grin and bear it, there's no escape, until you wear it.

A reasonably original take on a very generic horror theme with an often used metaphor, but the performance from Sosie Bacon is noteworthy and convincing, as is the escalation, with one or two genuine jump scare moments ratcheting up the tension and keeping you engaged enough to hope for more. The special effects are fine and the potential for parts 2, 3 and more in the near future left beaming right back at you as the titles role.
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I thought It Was Great Movie, I Hid Behind My Coat!
martimusross26 September 2022

For lovers of the horror genre this was a treat from start to finish. Sosie Bacon who played Dr Rose Cotter, the shrink, was perfectly cast, never off the screen and the camera work was up close and personal. It really was a great acting performance in a horror role, nuanced, varied and very intense, we were certainly rooting for her!

The script was tight and everything was sacrificed for the narrative impetus, the mark of classic horror.

Without spoiling this movie there was a very similar plot in an original Star Trek episode, I will let the sci-fi wonks identify this similarity.

Overall it was a great night out and I couldn't guess the conclusion. I'm giving this a firm 8 outta 10, it really was very good!
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Very decent horror movie!
brah_vo8 October 2022
Very decent horror movie kinda dating back to the mid/late 2000s. If you enjoyed the Ring, Hereditary, It follows, you will very much love this.

If you're a horror movie fan you can probably see the ending coming BUT at least it's well executed.

Crazy camera angles, acting is good, definitely had me anxious watching threw my hands a few times (jump scares) it's also VERY analytical with huge PSTD, clinical diagnosis, mental characteristics in different characters

Some cons were the extended background information they would give which made the movie feel alittle more longer

There would most likely be a sequel or two but I doubt they'd be as good as this

Would I watch again? Probably not they heavy graphic suicide scenes (I get it that's part of the plot) BUT it's well worth a watch at least once.
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That makes a change, great new horror.
Sleepin_Dragon23 November 2022
Doctor Rose Cotter watches in horror as a patient commits a horrifying act, her life changes dramatically after it.

For me, this felt like a mix of It Follows and Truth or Dare, I was trying to think what the smiling element reminded me of, and it was the latter, although the theme was put to much better use here.

Plenty of scares and thrills, this was definitely the best horror I've seen in quite a while, very well produced, with some great acting, I may not have liked the main character, but Sosie Bacon was excellent.

Not sure what people will make of the ending, it'll be divisive, I thought it was ok, for me, the early horror angles were terrific.

The only real detractor for me, I found it very hard to like central character Rose, it was very hard to empathise with her, as she was generally unpleasant, as was her husband.

They have definitely left the door open for a second movie, perhaps with Joel as the central character, you can never have too much Kyle Gallner.

Blu ray ordered.

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Really great and...scary!
PedroPires9028 September 2022
What an incredible year for horror!

The intro scene is conceptually perfect. Why? Because it immediately gives us all that we need to get into the context of the film, not only in terms of the most classic horror elements but also in terms of its main themes. All this before its title card. But how? Introducing us immediately to our main character, Dr Rose Cotter, who works in a psychiatric hospital and who receives a visit from a new patient who in ten minutes shows strange behaviour, claims to be being followed by an evil entity, smiles scarily and commits suicide. And now that curse seems to have passed on to our Dr., who is impeccably played by Sosie Bacon, in one of those roles where she often has to balance herself on the boundary that separates what everyone sees and what only she can see.

Trauma. It will always be traumatic to witness an event as dramatic and violent as a suicide. And it is from trauma that this entity feeds. And how well this theme is used... after all, many of us have gone through traumas and traumas are just kept in a hidden corner within us, always ready to be reactivated. Grief and guilt are often associated with traumatic events, and Smile does not deny that connection. Nor does it refuse to make connections with psychological and mental problems that can arise from it and how when this happens, the victim becomes even more placed on the sidelines, more isolated, more alone in a world from which one does not intend to move away but from which finds no other alternative.

But of course, this is a horror movie and it's not only about the message that a film of the genre should live. Good news: even if you don't care about meaning, Smile is pretty good and effective entertainment. The suspenseful scenes are very well constructed, the environment feels heavy for long moments and it presents us with several jump scares that work perfectly, being this one of the scariest films of recent years.

The film suffers from a certain predictability typical of the genre - I saw that ending coming from miles away - and, at times, it seems to rely a little too much on the power of suggestion and the effectiveness of its scares, although there are reasons for that because those are two areas where it stands out. The visual effects - mostly practical - are not present for long moments, but when they appear they elevate the work, with some really terrifying images. And as for Parker Finn...what a great movie debut, not only because of the way he leaves us on edge thanks to a very safe direction but also for presenting some elements that we don't often see in horror in terms of the originality of shots and scene transitions.

2022 doesn't stop giving us good horror. Smile bets on a heavy atmosphere, strong messages and very effective scares to give us one of the tensest films of the year. A little bit The Ring, a little bit It Follows, but also a very own identity that should ensure this will not stop here.
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Smile's creepy trailers and clever marketing were the best parts of a movie with a meager plot drenched in uneasy sounds, and way too many jump scares.
Paragon24029 September 2022
Smile obsesses over saturating every moment in unsettling dread. The score and sound effects make every moment uneasy and uncomfortable, and not in a good way. Smile's premise bore many similarities to It Follows with much poorer execution. Smile stumbled from jump scare to jump scare. I started closing my eyes because the jump scares were so predictable, and I was tired of having disturbing images screamed in my face. I will say that Sosie Bacon did an excellent job with what she was given, with her performance being the only bright spot in the film. Unfortunately, the movie was unimpressive and tried to cloak mediocrity in a fountain of jump scares, stressful noises, and unpleasant moments.
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If you don't think about it.
scottkolflat3 October 2022
If you don't think about the plot holes and how normal people would behave, then this movie is pretty good. The problem is that I have a brain and I use it, so I didn't like this movie. This is one of those movies where in order for the movie to move forward, everyone has to behave in a way that would never actually happen. Trained psychologists have to be oblivious to the obvious. Cops need to be totally incompetent and oblivious as well.

The protagonist is extremely unlikable, but the movie tries to convince me that I should be rooting for her. This movie tells me that she's not crazy, but the character acts totally insane. There's a strange disconnect between what the movie wants me to think and what it shows me. There are jump scares that have nothing to do with the movie and come out of nowhere just for the sake of adding a jump scare.

To top everything off, it's extremely predictable and I saw the ending coming from a mile away. It wasn't scary either. I found everything quite boring. I wouldn't recommend this movie to anyone who's like me and can't turn their brain off. I gave it 3 stars because it's shot well enough and it had a foreboding atmosphere. The acting was okay. There were only a couple of times where I felt removed from the movie because the acting reminded me that I'm watching an actor instead of their character.
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Very good and very scary.
MJB78428 September 2022
Smile is the best movie I've seen this year and the scariest. It had a terrific story where the twists added up and had hardly any restraint. The story deals with a psychiatrist at the hospital who's recent patient has plagues of family members and friends staring hideously at her to the point where she can't control her moods. The faces usually smilie and soon it consumes her to the point of suicide. She then researches this demonic situation to something more horrific. There were a few abrupt scenes that I would've like more of a scene before it cuts to the next, but it was honestly disturbing and unexpected in its timing of scares. The story has similar themes of Insidious or Conjuring or The Entity, but with surprises in terms of the villian as well as the journey the lead character is suffering through.
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Not so original.
jp_911 October 2022
"Smile" is a film that has a spectacular art direction, its interior and exterior locations are well achieved, from looking calm to being gloomy. The performances are good, highlighting those of Sosie Bacon and Kyle Gallner. The problem is in its script that is not entirely original, we have a mix between the story of "The Ring" together with "It Follows" and even elements of the lousy movie "Truth or Dare", the result is nice but it doesn't come furthermore, some scenes are drawn out and become predictable, the story's formula of a curse being passed from one person to another is losing its charm. A good movie but without more pretensions than entertaining.
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It Smiles
cahidi24 November 2022
Do you remember the movie "It Follows"? Smile reminds me a lot about that movie. The plot is very similar, something is passed on from one victim to another. The creepiness and terror are also very much alike. It's pretty terrifying, even though it doesn't use that many jump scares. Unlike other horror movies which primarily relying on jump scares to get the audiences hooked. The plot is rather predictable, I could already guess the ending halfway through the movie. But even then, I didn't get bored. It must be the way the director made the movie engaging. The only reason I didn't give it 7 stars is because I hate unsettled endings. I like horror movies where the protagonist survives and defeats the source of problem. That's the only reason I gave it 6 stars.
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Smile....something you won't be doing
d_penn4 October 2022
I really expected the movie to live up to the hype it was portraying. Hopefully this is not the directors first and only movie filmed cause if it is, I'm giving up before getting started. The buildup was not bad. Plot and Climax was mediocre. Very underwhelming acting. I will say the ending was decent. Was not expecting it. I put this under more of a psychological thriller then horror. I caught MAYBE three jump scares. Quite a bit of gore which I don't mind but it seemed to be trying to give off a message that I feel this day and age society won't grasp. I personally don't recommend it but to each their own. A lot of people supposedly love it. To each their own. Definitely need a refund back from my firestick.
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Very Long For Not That Much Spook
scootm1630 September 2022
I was pretty hyped for this movie, not going to lie. I wasn't expecting some 11-time Oscar winning masterpiece, but I did expect an intense, edge-of-your-seat scarefest like that of 'Insidious' or 'Sinister', where the movie is dripping with creepy unsettlingness from start to finish. 'Smile' is not that. What 'Smile' does well is build up the jump scare, but unfortunately (and more importantly), 'Smile' forgets to deliver the scare in each of these sequences it repeats throughout its way overlong 2-hour runtime.

Example, the main character will be staring down a dark hallway while the music tenses and camera slowly zooms in, and then the phone will ring SO LOUD. This is NOT a scare! This is just lazy and, above all, annoying. These "jump scares" happen throughout the ENTIRE movie and are extremely obnoxious. I can respect jump scares if there's actually something scary at the end of the build-up, not just an obnoxiously loud noise that has nothing to do with the tension that was just wasted. An example of an ACTUAL jump scare would be like when the Lipstick Demon appears at the table for the first time in 'Insidious'. THAT is a warranted jump scare.

The plot of 'Smile' and the way the characters unravel it is almost identical to 'The Ring'. No new ground is broken, which was expected, but I at least expected a little more originality than a copy/paste story of 'The Ring' with a good amount of 'It Follows' copied as well, yet is far less than both those movies.

What I thought was pretty good was the ending, when the demon finally reveals itself. The design of the demon and what it does to its victims is actually pretty great/gruesome. Unfortunately, by the time we're introduced to the Smile demon, the movie's over. Such a shame, as this movie could have been a balls-to-the-wall nail-biting chiller. The score for this movie was hands-down the best and creepiest part. The music reminded me of 'Sinister's music, as in there was something off about it, making it unnerving.

Overall, this movie has been done before and done MUCH better. Has it's moments, but drags on without any scares for far too long.

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Flat jump scare fest that long outstays it's welcome
ben-mckimm16 November 2022
Firstly, if you're rating this 10/10 then you need to delete your account.

This was one of the most tediously written films I've ever seen. Constant jump scares that become a chore, characters acting in the most bizarre fashion, just so the story can progress and a 30 minute short film, stretched out over 2 hours.

Every single character makes the most frustrating decisions, because the writers clearly needed to connect the dots. This is my biggest frustration with this film and it goes on in almost every single scene from the first second of the movie. It becomes unbearable towards the end.

Some ok performances do very little to save this mess. You'll love this if you hate your braincells or if you think mildly creepy faces make for a terrifying experience.
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Unsettling at times
carlblackledge28 November 2022
Watched this last night not knowing what to expect. But as soon as the first visual victim emerged with that creepy smile I knew it was worth watching. As many have stated it's nearest relative is It Follows, which is a horror that stood out in a good way (for me at least). Smile though was more creepy and simpler as a concept, which in my opinion made it all the more unsettling. I found the smiling women to be more scary than the men. Especially the protagonist's therapist about half way through.

The only thing I could have a gripe about with this film is... it's predictableness. The ending was quite unimaginative for sure, but was there really any other way it could end that would satisfy horror fans? Not really no. It's just not that kind of film. All in all I enjoyed this film. Out of place smiling is creepy as a concept. It's why clowns get a bad rep after all. I actually think it could be the best horror I've seen this year. It's was never gonna be the best horror I've ever seen though. I will recommend it to like minded people I know.
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Heart pumping through my chest....
PerryAtTheMovies2 October 2022

My assumptions for this film was that it would be repetitive with a bunch of cheap jump scares, and a story that would be a whirlwind of boredom. Almost similar to "Truth or Dare".

While this film was filled with a bunch of jump scares. They were executed in such a way that my anxiety was shooting through the roof. While "Barbarian" was able to spook me a bit. This film has my heart still racing an hour after the film has ended which is very uncommon for me.

Sound was crucial to film being a hit or miss, and in my books, it was a huge hit. The score did a great job of getting me hooked on certain scenes a bit too much that I hit a rollercoaster of emotions. When I finally recovered from one scene the next would have me reeling again.

I've never seen Sosie Bacon before, but she had me hooked. The film depends heavily on her reacting to what was going on around her. She made the unbelievable believable. Delving deeper and deeper into a world of psychosis I felt I was losing my mind with her.

Lastly, I want to say that I was pleased with pacing. I didn't look to see how long the film was, but at nearly two hours it steadily flew by. For me this was a complete film. It hit the ticks of enjoyment at good points and ends very well.

Overall, this was quite the film. It reached into my mind and soul, twisted it, and then left it heart-pounding unpleasantness. There's great sound and some really good acting that hits the deepest part of the soul. I would definitely recommend checking this film out, especially in Ultra AVX with Dolby Atmos. The only thing I'll say is that if you're not easily scared you may not like it, but if you're easily scared it will definitely tickle a nerve. Somewhere in the middle you may go either way.

Thank you for reading my review. I hope it gives you insight to the film without spoilers. Until next time.... Enjoy the show!
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Way smarter than expected
benjaminskylerhill28 September 2022
Given its premise that appears purely silly and gimmicky on the surface, I was shocked that I actually got psychologically wrapped up in the allegorical themes and characterization of Smile.

I appreciated that the film cast relatively unknown actors, especially since all of them do a phenomenal job. A LOT is asked of them-to sell trauma and their reaction to it, and they get the job done.

First-time writer/director Parker Finn knocked it out of the park with his film's craft. For the most part, his scares rely upon clever placement of HORRIFYING imagery and sound, and a lot of it truly unnerved me. I'll be seeing some of this in my sleep.

The sound design really elevates a good chunk of the film, emphasising silence to the point that when a loud noise does come, it's truly shocking.

What didn't work for me was the jump scares. It starts off welcomingly restrained, but in the film's second half, the jump-scares start to come out of the woodwork and they gradually lost their effectiveness.

But it didn't bother me too much because the imagery stayed so original and truly unsettling.

I loved the metaphorical analysis of trauma and it's lingering nature. It's a take on the theme that I haven't seen before and it's largely clever for almost the entire film, even if the film's ending does rely a little too much on forced dialogue to deliver it in a disappointingly clunky way.

It's far from perfect, and at times it stumbles, but it's one of the best horror films released this year, and it's intelligent ambition is something to behold.
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Enjoyable with unfulfilled potential
spotboyfilms4 October 2022
"Smile" is a pretty enjoyable time at the movies with the right crowd. Sosie Bacon gives a solid performance and this performance makes the film enjoyable. The film kind of drags from the Mid Point to the end of Act II, but the beginning and climax are pretty great. The film's effects work of car driving shots and some stabbings are not that great. But other effects are pretty good, even unintentionally funny at times. Having watched Barbarian recently (10/10), Smile could have used some of that "humor" because any humor in smile is unintentional, whereas Barbarian is very surgical. Smile, from a concept level, is interesting following in the footsteps of The Ring and It Follows, but Smile doesn't check off all the boxes to get to a 10/10. The music, acting, and sometimes direction is great. The effects work really drops the ball at times. However, this is a fun time at the movies for sure.
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Starts off good but falls apart
preppy-39 October 2022
A doctor has a patient of hers commit suicide in front of her. Then she starts to experience strange and terrifying occurrences she can't explain. She links it all to her former patient and realizes she may be marked for death.

This starts off very well with an interesting premise. It's also well-acted and directed with a couple of truly scary scenes. However it falls apart at the end. I'm still not quite sure what was going on at the end and there are way too many unexplained events. Also it's pretty slow-moving but that actually works in its favor. It's really too bad. The cast is attractive and it does work once in a while but, all in all, I was confused and unsatisfied by the end.
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Well made - but ending just makes it generic.
ashley-crookes10 October 2022
I'm not a big fan of horrors, for the simple fact that most are just plain stupid, have a non existant story or characters that are just dumb and you hope they get killed off as soon as possible.

Smile, actually - was quite enjoyable, as far as horrors go. The scares were well done, there were lots of tense scenes, there was a decent enough story line with only 1 wooden actor that sadly wasn't taken out. We as the audience were actually rooting for the main character, we wanted to know if she would figure out some way to solve the puzzle of what happened to her patient.

Unfortunately the ending just turned it into another generic horror ending, and I left the cinema feeling quite let down after having enjoyed the first 98% of the film before that.
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I wish I could be as scared...
BA_Harrison27 October 2022
Sosie Bacon (mmm...sausages and bacon!) stars as psychiatric doctor Rose Cotter, who has a bad day at work when one of her patients flips out and commits suicide right in front of her. After this traumatic incident, Rose begins to experience terrifying occurrences that lead her to believe that she is the latest victim of a terrifying curse.

Despite this film's jolly sounding title, my wife wasn't smiling when we left the cinema: she said she's probably not going to sleep tonight and she's never going to let me talk her into seeing a horror movie on the big screen again. I guess if you're not as inured to scary movies as I am, then Smile is going to have that effect, the film comprising of a series of jolts, connected by scenes of unsettling eeriness.

The whole thing is undeniably well directed and competently acted, but I found the plot a little too generic, the pace a bit too slow, and the scares a tad obvious to be wholly satisfying (plus, the best moment is shown in the trailer). I guess that's the downside of having seen so many horror films -- not much seems very original or scary anymore.

My rating: 6/10 (my wife gave it 8/10, so she must have enjoyed herself).
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iamtherobotman5 November 2022
Within the first 5-10 minutes of this, i felt like i'd seen it before.

The victim sees their 'killer' who can take the shape of anyone, normally someone they know. Then when they're about to die, they have an unnervingly broad grin on their faces...

Ah yes, 'It Follows', and 'Truth or Dare'.

As the film continues into all too familiar territory... Protagonist turns investigator in order to prevent their own death we're then reminded of 'The Ring', or 'Final Destination' to name but two.

This just really isn't that good a film. It's another bitterly disappointing affair which sadly borrows far too much from other films, making it completely unoriginal.

I've seen a few Horror films this year, and all of them have been utterly hopeless. It's a genre i love, but i'm losing faith in it rapidly. Someone please restore my faith in these films. Give us something original, something genuinely shocking, without being grotesque. Give us something which plays with our head, leaving us unsure of what just happened.
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Smile made me Frown
thefendiprint3 October 2022
I'm convinced all of these positive reviewers are being paid by Paramount to further promote this very mediocre film. I'm also convinced I watched a completely different movie than everyone else here.

For starters, this film is once again entirely too long for what it is. I'm not sure why Hollywood thinks every movie that comes out these days has to be 2 hours or longer, but I guarantee this film could've been at least 30 minutes shorter, and taken absolutely nothing away from the story or the viewing experience. A majority of the film drags on and is quite boring at times, with lots of filler moments.

Next, the so-called horror of it all. This film is not scary, and anyone claiming it to be "the scariest movie" like I've seen on numerous reviews clearly does not watch many movies, let alone horror. The "smiling" aspect is corny and unserious, despite best efforts. In my opinion, there are only two genuine jump scares, both of which are spoiled in trailers for the film (naturally).

The story itself explores themes of generational trauma and mental illness, but unfortunately none of it is done in a way that is new or original. We've seen this story and these themes told a million times (and much better). The acting wasn't that bad, but it's also nothing to write home about. I will give points to sound design, as I do find it to be quite successful on its own, but as a collective, there are too many flaws to overlook here. And don't even get me started on this being yet another film with zero explanation for the cause of its events. Just because you leave things "open to interpretation" doesn't mean it's good or subversive! It just means your writing is lazy. Someone please tell Hollywood that. We're tired.

I am a huge horror fan just as much as the next guy, but I went in to Smile with low expectations that were sadly proven correct. There are countless other 2022 horror films that are so much better than this. Barbarian, for example, is lightyears better and reaches heights that this film only wishes it could reach! Smile is like a much worse version of if It Follows and Hereditary had a baby. I don't recommend, and I have no plans to ever see this again. They should've kept this straight-to-streaming.
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