Quick Review: Smile (2022)

Written and Directed by Parker Finn

After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality. (IMDB)

There was a lot of talk around SMILE when it was released but I didn’t get a chance to see it at the cinema. Since then, I have heard a lot of varying reports on how good it was, from the whole range of opinions; from one of the best of 2022 to literally one of the worst! So, when it turned up on streaming, we thought, let’s give it a go, how bad can it be?

It’s not, just to be clear.

When she sees one of her patients (Caitlin Stasey) take their own life in front of her, after claiming she is being followed by a malevolent force, Rose (Sosie Bacon) slowly finds herself haunted by the same demon and her life and relationships fall apart in front of her eyes. As she tries to figure out what is going on, she discovers a trail of suicides all linked to her patient. The demon is following her and she has to figure out how to stop it pushing her to the same fate.

With the demon only visible to the person it is haunting and turning up at the worst possible moments with a creepy grin on its face, it is no wonder SMILE has some suitable spooky moments and a few decent jump scares – although some of the best were spoiled by the trailer.

The film wears its theme on its sleeve and explores the effects of trauma on mental health and the damage that can be caused when those suffering with it are left to sort things out for themselves. In the real world, the effects of trauma aren’t always visible (just like Rose’s demon) and getting help can be just as frustrating.

SMILE is a well-made horror with a decent story and cast and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride. I think it is well scored on IMDB and the only thing that niggled me about it was the very close resemblance to FALLEN (1998) which also involved a demon, flitting from person to person and screwing with their lives. Both films have a similar resolution and open-ending but, ultimately, it doesn’t stop you enjoying both – in fact, they would probably make a great double-bill for a Halloween or the next Friday the 13th!

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