Review: ‘Smile’ misses mark for horror, is successful thriller


Courtesy of The Scotsman

“Smile” released on Sept. 30 and has generated a multitude of different reactions from thriller fans. TRL’s Addy McCaffity assesses the film’s strengths and shortcomings.

Creepy people with smiles across their faces have been sitting at home plate during Major League Baseball games as part of a creative advertising campaign for the new horror movie “Smile.” 

“Smile” released on Sept. 30 and has generated a multitude of different reactions from thriller fans.

The movie follows Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) as she works in a psychiatric ward. However, something has taken over many patients, and she witnesses a traumatic death. This begins to follow her as patients will smile before their life is taken. If people witness it, they are doomed to die within the next couple of days. 

If I am being honest, the plot before I watched it sounded a lot like “Bird Box,” Sandra Bullock’s Netflix horror film that was released a few years ago. Yes, the film wasn’t based on something that usually brings happiness in day-to-day life, but the idea of not being able to look around without possibly dying is eerily similar. “Smile” brings just enough changes to make this plot feel familiar and yet brand new. The psychological games that it plays with the audience even once they leave the theater are unlike many other films. 

One bad thing about the movie is that many of the major jump scares can be found in the trailer. This makes it slightly less exciting as a viewer as the point of seeing a movie like this is to feel the adrenaline that comes with these scares. They honestly could have chosen to only release the initial trailer that just shows the first patient to have caught the disease, and I believe many people would have still been drawn to see it and left with little disappointment. 

Additionally, if the movie would have ended before the final sequence it would have been much more satisfying. I understand that in a way it is set up for the possibility of a second movie, but writers can always find a way to produce a sequel. They didn’t need to leave the movie on the note that they did. 

The advertising for this movie has been very successful, and the box office numbers even improved after the first weekend. Hiring actors to be on screen at a widely televised event to continue the eerie feeling the film wants to create is something that not many other movies could pull off, but the “Smile” team does it perfectly. 

Overall, “Smile” is a great movie for horror movie fans, but I would not recommend it to those that don’t like gore and psychological thrillers. 

Rating: B