Smile (2022)
Smile (2022)

Smile (2022) Movie Review

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Imagine if the new horror film Smile was about a psychotic photographer who tortured people until they posed for a photo; it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But how was the actual film? Dr. Rose Cotter begins experiencing terrifying occurrences that she cannot explain as an overwhelming sense of fear after witnessing a strange traumatic incident involving a patient.When terror starts to take over Rose’s life, she has to face her troubled past to stay alive and escape her horrifying new reality.

Ceci Bacon plays Dr. Rose Cutter, a psychiatrist in the emergency room of a hospital in New Jersey called Mount Pleasant, which I thought was a funny name. One day, Rose gets a patient who is clearly scared and then acts out, which scares Rose. The story is pretty predictable, even if you haven’t seen the trailers.

The story’s arc is self-explanatory, and the film doesn’t hide much of it or even obscure what’s going on, but the anxious tension and scares come from what plays out in front of our eyes. There’s an ongoing theme of mental health within the story, and I love that while psychosis and mental instability are visualised for us within character actions, those who deal with the issues aren’t made fun of or used as punch lines.

These were the kind of scares that come out of nowhere, like when the camera moves or when the music builds up to a stinger. I jumped a few times, but then I laughed out loud because the scene was so good or because I needed to get rid of some of my fear. We saw this in a packed theater, and the audience’s reactions were great as a whole: We yelled, screamed, winced, and laughed. Kyle gallner Robin Weigert, Cal Pin, and Rob Morgan all get different moments to show off personality quirks that often lead to very unsettling interactions.

I think my favourite of the supporting cast, though, was Robin Wieger. She has a few quieter moments with Bacon’s Rose where we can feel the tension building, and Bacon really makes Rose seem like a real person. Rose is grounded, but she’s been hurt, which keeps her on edge. Her personality changes as the story goes on because of the stress she’s under.

She’ll constantly bite her nails or wipe her face with her hands, sometimes to get something off, but mostly just as a nervous tick that says a lot. Sophie Bacon is wonderful at capturing a character who mentally declines as she questions her reality, and while the story feels a tiny bit long and the whole project is predictable, the final product is an anxious and stressful ride that could put a huge smile on your face.

There’s no sex or nudity, a tonne of profanity, and some very brutal violence  and there are major plot points that revolve around suicide, so just know that that is a factor within the story I give it four out of five couches, so what’s a horror movie that just unsettles the crap out of you? Let me know in the comments below.

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