Smile Made Me Smile

Like in my last review, Smile is a horror movie, there are very graphic killings and a lot of suicides in this movie. If these things make you uncomfortable please feel free to skip this one. I WILL NOT SPOIL ANYTHING IMPORTANT IN THIS MOVIE.

A lot of people brought up this Smile movie to me, and said it looked cheesy and dumb—but the reviews were pretty high, so I figured why not go see it? My dad and I went to see the movie in the theater. All movies are better in the theater, and this movie even has a thank-you note before the movie starts. I thought that was a sign that this movie would be worse than the last one (again, Barbarian) but it wasn’t.

The trailer really understated how cheesy this movie was. I thought it would be impossible to make the movie dumber than that . . . but I was wrong. Smile is a very silly movie with a very serious plot. They had suicides in the movie, but they found a way to make them light-hearted.

The plot: a psychologist sees the gruesome suicide of a young college student and is consumed by the horrid thing she witnessed. She has a week to find out the cure to this possession, kind of like The Ring, except instead of a girl climbing out of the TV, the person dies in a very gruesome way. The producers added a twist to the killing, which is that makes you smile when you kill yourself.

The movie was really good, and I enjoyed it. I thought it was funny, and The Ring is really good, so even if it was similar in terms of plot and the timeframe the protagonists had to figure out their demons, that makes Smile naturally a good movie.

The acting was phenomenal; frankly, I was shocked with how good the main actress (Sosie Bacon) was in the movie. She fit the role of Dr Cotter really well, and I was just pleased with her performance. Kyle Gallner, the other main actor, didn’t quite measure up but he was still a good actor. He fit his role (Joel, the main character’s ex) well, and I think had the best character in the movie. The weak link in this cast for me was Dr Cotter’s fiancé Trevor, played by Jessie T. Usher. He had a role that was basically meant to set the tone for the movie, more of a catalyst for the main character to see what she was missing than anything else, but he stayed throughout the movie and was just kind of an annoying character. Moreover, Usher’s performance was rather mediocre, or at least the rest of the actors just performed better than his level.

If there’s one major aspect of the story that I wish had been improved, it’s the possession storyline. They really only focused on how the main character wanted to save herself; in other horror movies with similar themes, the character will do anything to save themselves or their family. Smile, in the end, is really more of a psychological horror movie than a possession movie. I only say this because the story was focused on destroying what was left of Dr. Cotter’s psyche for the whole movie, but I don’t think this was intentional: Smile seems like it was intended as a possession movie, not a general thriller.

Overall this movie was good, and I’d put it at around an 8/10. The major reason I wouldn’t call it perfect is because there are already other movies that do the whole horror thing better, like Ring and It Follows, and since Smile is literally just a mix between the two, all it ends up doing is combining some of the good aspects of each while diluting their potency. Still, I can’t deny that Smile is certainly watchable. I would recommend this movie to any horror movie enjoyers, and maybe even people just looking for a spoopy movie to watch around Halloween. Anyway, thanks for reading. Next time around, I want to introduce you to my favorite horror movie . . .