Horror movie Smile fell flat

Smile is a 2022 psychological horror film that fell short of its expectations


“Something’s Wrong with Rose” was supposed to be the title before it was changed to “Smile”.

Smile was released in September 2022 as a supernatural psychological horror film directed by Parker Finn. The movie stars Rose Cotter as Sosie Bacon, a therapist at a mental hospital. After witnessing the bizarre suicide of one of her patients, she experiences disturbing encounters that she claims as supernatural. The movie also stars Kyle Gallner as Joel (Rose’s friend/partner), Jesse T. Usher as Trevor (Rose’s husband), and Caitlin Stasey as Laura Weaver (the girl involved in the suicide).

The movie includes trigger warnings for PTSD and suicide, as the scenes are graphic.

I thought the plot was good, although it does follow a typical 90s horror flick setup: an ordinary person is overpowered by an evil force for no apparent reason. Smile had the creepy element during the beginning of Rose’s curse, especially the parts when she was in her house. Seeing a dark smiling figure in the shadows was probably the scariest part and, while some of the jump scares shock me, they didn’t scare me. However, all the other “scary” parts didn’t have the same effect. They tried to make it creepier as the curse progressed, but it felt overplayed and felt boring.

For example, when Rose is at the hospital before she’s told to go home, she encounters a smiling Carl, a patient at the hospital, who starts shouting “you’re gonna die” when he recognizes her. It felt comical to me rather than scary. I couldn’t take it seriously and had to take a break to regain composure to continue watching. Maybe if Carl’s voice was more angry and less humorous there would’ve been more of the scary factor that they were going for.

To me, majority of the jump scares were really cheesy. When Rose confronts her sister and tries to make amends, the monster disguises itself as her sister and breaks “her” neck so the head is hanging upside down. To me, it was very fake and cheesy and didn’t look realistic enough to be a jump scare. The neck was too long and it was obvious someone was holding it. The jump scare music timing was also way too late. If anything, the unexpectedness of the delayed sound scared me more than the whole movie did.

The movie tried to make the plot twists unpredictable, but they unfortunately were. The only one that I didn’t immediately figure out was when Rose’s “therapist” showed up at her house, but even then I started to catch on. The therapist was apologizing for showing up to her house the previous day unannounced, but she was literally doing what she was “apologizing” for. When Rose invited the “therapist” to talk, her actual therapist called to apologize, which is when the monster revealed itself.

This movie was only made more predictable by the fact that most of the jump scares were displayed in the trailer. But even without seeing the trailer, they were still just as predictable because of the unnecessary amount of suspense they added.

Another thing that kind of annoyed me was when the end credits were playing the song “Lollipop” by the Chrodettes, which makes absolutely no sense. The movie had followed a very dark series of events, so the cheerful tune of “Lollipop” playing at the end didn’t quite match. Maybe if the movie started off with that song or if it had some sort of reference to the movie, it would’ve made more sense.

Honestly, the best part of this movie was the marketing. I will admit when the marketing was viral on TikTok, it looked intriguing and a little creepy, but after watching the movie, it definitely fell flat, especially after seeing many TikToks of people claiming to be “traumatized” after watching.

Overall, the movie Smile was extremely predictable and overrated. I would give it a 3/10.