If you have been watching any sports recently, you may have seen some creepy smiles in the crowd. "Smile" is a film from Paramount Studios and has had some of the most creative marketing seen for a horror movie in recent memory.
The movie's stunt took marketing to a new level, placing actors at three baseball games, "Monday Night Football" and even on "The Today Show."
"Smile" looked like a fresh concept, something different, something unlike anything we've seen before. However, after watching the film, it struggles to separate itself from other horror films in the past.
The story follows Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) trying to escape a deadly curse that haunts her in the way of smiles. This concept was intriguing and provided some cool sequences and effective jump scares. However, it tended to be predictable and unmemorable.
For me, these issues are rooted in the script. Some of the characters seemed very one-dimensional, and others lacked a purpose. Additionally, some of the main characters' decisions seemed illogical and without merit at times. The first act of the film was great. However, as the film approaches the climax, the movie starts to get over complicated and becomes repetitive.
Many of this film's motifs follow similar paths to past horror projects, especially "Stranger Things" season four when Vecna's curse worked. However, Stranger Things was much more successful. "Smile" could have benefited from adding an additional 20 minutes to make this story stronger.
Even though there were a lot of issues with the script, the performances in this film were great. Sosie Bacon delivers an excellent performance as Rose, and Kyle Gallner as Joel also has a notable performance. Gallner is charismatic and easy to root for throughout the film. Additionally, most of the actors in this film deliver the infamous creepy smile, and some are better than others. Still, they all give audiences the creeps.
As well as the acting, the horror elements of this film were also very effective. "Smile" has some of the best jump scares I've seen all year, enhanced by the film's sound. The film's score was not only suspenseful but also brought to a new level by the jump scare. As well as just using sound as jump scares on multiple occasions with sounds like phone calls and alarms creating great suspense.
Overall, I think this movie was a fascinating concept that struggled to find its own identity. Even though it included some of the most memorable marketing in recent memory and great technical work, it doesn't compare to other horror projects we have seen as of late, such as "Barbarian" and "Pearl."