Review of Disappointing Movie “Smile”

Horror movie only recomended for people looking for comedy with jump scares

Image courtesy of Roku

Image courtesy of Roku

“Smile” (2022) is a supernatural horror movie directed by Parker Finn as his feature directorial debut. It is based on his short film “Laura Hasn’t Slept” (2020), which can be treated as a sort of prequel to “Smile” and features the same lead actor and character. 

The movie follows Rose Cotter, a psychiatrist, who is assigned to treat Laura Weaver after she witnesses the gruesome suicide of her professor. During their brief encounter, Laura reveals that she is being stalked by an evil entity that shows itself as a smiling person that only Laura can see. 

Before Rose can learn any more, Laura kills herself in front of Rose while smiling. Afterward, Rose realizes that the entity that had been stalking Laura has now attached itself to her. 

She desperately searches for a way to rid herself of the entity before she is killed by it—all the while suffering from severe delusions and torments from the demon. 

The movie shows many telltale signs of being a debut, including overused camerawork, a mediocre script and less than believable acting. First, the movie overused Dutch angles and off-centered shots to make up for the lack of eeriness throughout the film.

Through most of the shots, the background was blurred, giving a Zoom call effect. However, there were select shots that showcased the full capabilities of the crew and scenic director and effortlessly added to the horror atmosphere; this includes an eerie long shot of the main character’s perspective as she revisits her childhood home. 

A key feature of the movie was the unsettling smiles, but for many of the actors, the acting lacked eeriness and seemed more like a forced customer-service smile that is past caring. The acting seemed scripted in ways that gave me Hallmark vibes, especially in the delivery of the scary lines; it completely took away from the creep factor. 

The last third of the movie used CGI in both good and bad ways. The demon’s appearance is conflicting. It plays on the fear of the unknown and unnatural, but it also resembles a pale version of the Green Mask with a “five-head” and hair that has not been washed in the past month. Also, the demon wears women’s underwear for the majority of their scenes. 

The jumpscares were decently enjoyable and there were some genuine surprises, though in some scenes the delivery was so poor that it made the audience laugh. The suspense won over the jumpscares themselves. 

The ending, excluding the last five minutes, had a satisfying—if not a bit predictable—psychological twist. 

Rating: 4/10