Synopsis: After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.
Director: Parker Pinn
Stars: Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey
We have entered a time of year where we will start to see several horror/thriller movies…Halloween season! For years we would have had The Saw series of films and The Paranormal Activity series of films. And of course, Michael Myers was terrorizing Haddonfield in Halloween. Every year, like clockwork, the studios try to bring the fright and this year is no different.
One of those offerings is a movie called Smile. Smile is a movie that needs to be discussed in two different ways. The film itself and the marketing behind it.
Let’s start with the film. It stars Sosie Bacon, daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, I guess she kills at ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’. Sosie plays Dr. Rose Cotter. Rose is a therapist who is dealing with patients dealing with mental issues. While her sister and brother-in-law wish she was more focussed on profiting off of her medical accomplishments, Rose is more focussed on the good that she is doing. Rose has a comfortable life; she is engaged to her fiancé Trevor (Jessie T. Usher) and life is good. She’s a bit of a workaholic but that’s the life she has committed to.
One day she meets a patient, Laura, played by Caitlin Stasey, who starts telling Rose that she has been experiencing something unique. She tells of an entity that is following her and that has a sadistic smile on their face. Of course, Rose simply dismisses these notions and then Laura takes her own life, right in front of Rose.
This starts a chain of events. Is Rose imagining this? She is overworked and extremely tired. An entity with a smile? This can’t make any sense. Can it?
This film is like an amazing song that has been remixed with other songs. This film has some elements of The Ring, It Follows, Final Destination, just to name a few. And while those films have influenced this one it still carves out its own niche.
Parker Finn, who has developed this film based on his short film Laura Hasn’t Slept, has blown me away in first feature film. There is so much to enjoy in this film. The jump scares are on point. Sometimes there is a little misdirection and sometimes it’s not. Finn has taken something as simple as opening a can of cat food and made it intense.
The pacing of this film is also great. I truly loved how patiently the story developed. Finn doesn’t rush anything in this film.
Sosie Bacon is also great in this film. Many things about this film work, the direction, how it was shot, the score but none of that matters if Bacon doesn’t deliver and she certainly does. Watching her character develop and be thrust into this story is a joy to watch. I suspect the conversation is going to switch from ‘Are you Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick’s daughter?’ to ‘Are you Sosie Bacons parents?’ This isn’t her first role but it’s the first one I am familiar with and the one that made me take notice.
We often hear discussion of ‘Is it scary?’ ‘Nothing scares me’ etc. Let’s take a step away from that and just appreciate the great filmmaking. Will it scare some people? Maybe, but it will definitely impress.
I mentioned earlier the marketing of this film and it is nothing short of brilliant. Usually a movie comes out, we see a trailer, maybe an actor makes the talk show circuit but that’s about it. Not this time. At Major League Baseball games over the past week behind home plate you would see someone right behind the plate with an eerie smile on their face, sometimes wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Smile’ on it. Actors paid to attend baseball games to generate interest in a movie!?!?!? This is amazing out of the box thinking to promote a movie.
Smile works for me. I thought it was a great movie and one that could kickstart a whole new October franchise.