SMILE: The Must-See Horror Film of the Season


Released Sep. 30, 2022, Smile is a new psychological thriller directed by Parker Finn.

Emma Christiansen, Staff Writer

The spookiest month of the year is off to a tremendous start with the psychological horror film “Smile.” With the film’s brilliant direction, acting, cinematography, chills-down-the-spine soundtrack, and effective jump scares, “Smile” will send the audience on an emotional rollercoaster ride that will leave their hearts pounding.

Parker Finn’s directorial debut centers around a therapist, portrayed by Sosie Bacon, who, after witnessing a bizarre, traumatic event involving a patient, is believed to be losing her mind as an unknown entity begins to stalk d torture her. Audiences seem to have enjoyed the film, which has a 6.9/10 rating on IMDb and a score of 78% on Rotten Tomatoes.

My theory is that Finn watched Blumhouse’s 2018 box office failure “Truth or Dare” and thought to himself, “how do I make this good?” This was my initial thought after watching the trailer and commercials promoting the film. Though both films have similar premises, including the antagonist being a mysterious demonic entity and a repetitive menacing grin following the protagonist, “Smile” delivers a superior execution of the concept. The smile itself is disturbing- a solid image of it will be imprinted in your memory while and after watching the film. Even replicating it yourself in the mirror would have you creeped out. So simple, yet so effective.

I also enjoyed the film’s unique marketing campaign. For instance, Twitter implemented a custom ‘like button’ animation on tweets containing the film’s hashtag. Instead of the usual heart, it’s an unsettling version of the typical smiling emoji. Another example is the viral marketing stunt at several Major League Baseball games the weekend before the film’s release. Some of the actors from the film would smile maniacally at the camera during the game.

Start the Halloween season with “Smile.” It is a thrilling cinematic experience worthy of being added to the list of great horror films of 2022.