‘Smile’ is just another predictable horror film


@smilemovie on Twitter

Sophia Weiss-Goldner, Contributor

Content Warning: “Smile” may not be suitable for students who are sensitive to depictions of self-harm and blood. This article contains plot spoilers.

After Paramount Pictures promoted their latest film by hiring actors to show up at MLB games with their creepiest smiles directed at the camera, alongside terrifying trailers, “Smile” went viral. Despite the clever marketing strategies in their campaign, the film was excruciatingly underwhelming and predictable from start to finish.

“Smile” has an unoriginal storyline, similar to a multitude of classic horror films that many cinephiles have already seen. This film is centered around Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon), a psychiatrist at a mental hospital in New Jersey. One day at work, Dr. Cotter witnessed a traumatic incident with a patient, which triggers her to have flashbacks of her horrific childhood. As the film progressed, a ghastly entity entered her psyche and threatened her life and those around her. Dr. Cotter then discovered that the only solution to free herself is to kill herself or kill someone else. The entity feeds off of people’s trauma and spreads from one brutal death to another. The story is eerily similar to other horror movies like “The Ring” and “Insidious.”

It is important to note that director and writer Parker Finn based “Smile” on his short film “Laura Hasn’t Slept.” Even though the “Smile” storyline could cause viewers to doze off, Charlie Sarroff did an exceptional job with the cinematography, as each scene’s shots are aesthetically pleasing in many ways. Sarroff has a unique eye for zooming in on the fine details of the scene, like a close-up of Dr. Cotter’s irises and the focused image of her cat’s collar. Though the storyline was a bit of a disappointment, the film is worth watching just for the hauntingly beautiful cinematography.

University sophomore Sierra Karam shared her honest unabridged opinion on the film, stating, “It is a cookie cutter predictable movie that relies too heavily on cheap jump scares. However, it was an enjoyable watch and if you enjoy scary movies, it is worth seeing.” So, even though “Smile” does not scream Oscar-worthy, it is an enjoyable film to watch for scary movie lovers.

University sophomore Sydnee Pasala said that “The film was pretty formulaic and predictable. The jump scares were quite constant making them lose their effectiveness, and at times they even logically make sense,” she admitted. “The fiancé’s acting was not great, but the rest of the cast did pretty well. I was entertained, but it definitely is not a standout horror film to me.”

The idea of a menacing smile haunting people was inspired by the 1928 drama “The Man Who Laughs,” directed by Paul Leni. Finn seemed to combine different horror movie tropes together to come up with the storyline for “Smile.” It stands out as a grade-B movie that is predictable and gruesome from beginning to end. The film does little to bring awareness to the stigma surrounding mental health and wellness. Though the movie may be entertaining for horror film enthusiasts, it is abundant in unnecessary jump scares and lacks real horrific substance.