“Smile” Review: Psychological thriller is “genuinely nerve-wracking, horrifying”


Keira Lee / Hilltop Views

Newly released psychological horror film “Smile” turns frowns upside down—and not in a good way.

The month of October has begun and is introducing new horror and thriller movies, including the newly released “Don’t Worry Darling,” starring Harry Styles, Florence Pugh, Chris Pine and directed by Olivia Wilde, but another horror film kickstarted the scary movie marathon, and it begins with a grin audiences will never forget.

Overall, the psychological horror film “Smile” does not disappoint. The film has a simple yet uneasy plot for horror fans, and the imagery and jump scares throughout the course of the film are genuinely nerve-wracking and horrifying.

“Smile” tells the story of Dr. Rose Cotter, a psychiatrist and New Jersey hospital resident, played by Sosie Bacon, who witnesses the suicide of one of her patients. Little does she know, a sinister evil is at work, and it’s smiling in the background of Rose’s past and present experiences. Rose eventually discovers, noting the brief conversation with her deceased patient, that this evil entity ensnares its victims’ minds and takes on the forms of people and memories that traumatize the victims into killing themselves. With the help of a police officer, Joel, played by Kyle Gallner, Rose finds out the past victims of this demonic entity have passed away grievously and tragically, yet each one dies with a smile on their face.

After viewing each file of the confirmed victims of the Evil Entity, Rose discovers that every victim who died had under a week to live following the previous victim’s death. Rose then believes she, too, has less than a week to rid herself of the Evil Entity and the psychological pain it inflicts upon her.

The special effects make “Smile” a fascinating movie, earning it four out of five goats. It’s one goat short simply because Rose’s character arc with her forgiving herself and letting go of her pain and suffering was completely, and inevitably, ignored, if not sabotaged, by the denouement of the film.

Nonetheless, the movie is worth watching on the big screen if you haven’t seen a classic horror film in a while. It will definitely make you fear the next face you see with a frown turned upside down.“Smile” is currently playing in theaters and will most likely be streaming soon after its theatrical release on Paramount+.

Claire Lawrence / Hilltop Views