#StookiSees: SMILE (2022)
Smile is a psychological horror film starring Sosie Bacon, who is a therapist that witnesses the disturbing suicide of a patient which from this point she finds herself in a loop of experiencing a series of unsettling visions. The films also star Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn and Rob Morgan, written and directed by Parker Finn. The film is an epitome of what ‘living in hell’ is like - but all in your mind. It showcases Dr. Rose Cotter having a mental breakdown and developing an erratic behaviour, feeding into her already embedded trauma from childhood, witnessing the death of her mother. Before committing suicide, patient Laura Weaver stated to Rose that she witnesses her professor commit suicide and since then is being pursued by an evil entity that takes the form of people she knows, which she refers to as ‘a mask of their faces’, smiling at her and telling her she is going to die. Rose started to have paranormal episodes, having a great effect on her relationships with her fiancé Trevor and her sister Holly, as they believe she was going insane.
Rose encounters her ex, Joel, who is a police detective that had responded to Laura’s death. With research about this haunting entity and going through previous police records of victims ending their lives with smiles on their face, they find a correlation within these circumstances and under limited time navigate how to break the chain of the curse, as none of the victims lasted longer than a week. Smile takes you on an overwhelming thrill of terror with the interpretation of people smiling in a way that sets the ironic tone of being creepy, eerie and strange taking an expression that is of a positive gesture twisted into a frightening and disturbing act in the film.
With Smile being Finn’s directorial debut, the horror flick is based on his short film Laura Hasn’t Slept which follows a young woman seeking the help of her therapist desperate to rid herself of a recurring nightmare. The feature-length delves in further focusing on the aftermath and impact of Laura’s death.
Listen to the eerie SMILE Soundtrack here:
Stööki Sëës Elements:
ART - A heavy contrast in cinematography with deeply uncanny and taunting imagery inside her imagination, filled with jump scares and ugly but mischievous smiles. But outside of her imagination, lucid visuals and undistorted reality, (on the edge of your seat) with the truth not being what it seems.
MUSIC - Quietly dense and slow burdening sounds that loudly builds a tense mood and chilling moment for goosebump surprises.
FASHION - The majority of cast had clean, well-groomed appearances that was flattering, which I think was the intention from the director to create this juxtaposition to have viewers distracted and not be so on-guard.
Stööki Sëës Rating:
SMILE is available to watch nationally in UK cinemas
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#StookiSees is a new blog series written by members of the #STOOKIMOVEMENT that will be focusing on the latest culture, entertainment releases and events that we attend and rate.
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Written by: Godwin Bassey
Images courtesy of Paramount