SMILE **** USA 2022 Dir: Parker Finn. 115 mins
A chilling psychological thriller with plenty of scares. Smile follows Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) following a traumatic incident with a new patient, PHD student Laura (Caitlin Stasey) who had begun seeing things in the week leading up to her suicide. Or at least that’s what they thought, until Rose begins to experience exactly what Laura had described.
A simple premise, yet Parker Finn’s feature film directional debut is easily one of my favourite horror films of 2022.
Watching the descent into trauma driven insanity creates a genuine sense of dread within the audience. Whilst I am usually desensitised to horror films, I honestly found this film entirely effective. The film certainly wasn’t focused on delivering a meaningful message and instead concentrated on the horror, as all horror films should.
The trauma driven plot could be quite realistic and, thanks to brilliant casting, each smile is entirely unnerving. Speaking of casting, Sosie Bacon was truly brilliant as Dr Rose Cotter, with her full range of emotions on display. Her talents are astounding when showing the madness that has taken hold of her whilst deep in sleep deprivation and trauma induced psychosis. All Rose wants is someone to believe her about the supernatural being haunting her every moment.
Caitlin Stasey manages to unnerve you with just a smile, over and over. Even with so few words, she steals every scene she appears in.
The entire supporting cast were perfect for each of their roles and talented enough to pull this off. A superb start for Parker Finn. My only reason for giving four stars is the reveal of the supernatural thing as I found it quite familiar. Otherwise, a top film I would watch over and over.
Review by Poppy Blundell