Yes, director Parker Finn uses scary jumps in “Smile.”
But he never overdoes it in this clever, efficient, and well-directed horror tale of how mental illness and grief can haunt us. With… other things.
This film gave horror fans something to smile about, and it was shown at the box office the weekend it opened, when it was No. 1 in the United States. It grossed $18.4 million from October 7-9, according to the BoxOfficeReport website. http://www.boxofficereport.com/
Part of that could be due to the brilliant marketing campaign in which Paramount placed paid actors, all with the film’s signature creepy smiles, in high-profile settings — even at Major League Baseball games.
The move is based on Finn’s short film titled “Laura Didn’t Sleep”. Caitlin Stasey (“Reign”), its star, also appears at the beginning of “Smile”. She tells a doctor that she has nightmares after seeing someone commit suicide.
Psychiatrist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon, daughter of Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon) tries to help her, but a grisly scene ensues despite Rose’s best intentions.
Now Rose, trying to deal with the guilt and trauma, is starting to see people smile at her. Could this be some kind of haunting? Her fiancé (Jessie T. Usher) is skeptical and her own therapist doesn’t really listen to her.
After all, Rose has issues with her past. Could it really be her past that haunts her?
Sosie Bacon puts on a wonderful performance in a film that reminds me of the underseen “It Follows” (there’s another recommendation if you want a double feature.)
Not for kids and not for the nervous “Smile” is a solid movie that’s perfect for the Halloween season.
Rated: R for foul language, gore, and death and suicide themes.
At Cinemark, Davenport; Regal, Moline; and Palms 10, muscatine.
Watch the trailer here.