‘Smile’: beautifully scary cinema experience

“Smile” released on Sept. 30. The movie features actor Sosie Bacon as Dr. Rose Cotter and her descent into horror. Photo courtesy of Paramount
“Smile” released on Sept. 30. The movie features actor Sosie Bacon as Dr. Rose Cotter and her descent into horror.
Photo courtesy of Paramount

campus editor

A dead empty theater aside from my two friends and myself was exactly the ambience necessary for the horror movie “Smile.” Without them, I would have been too paranoid to finish it completely. 

The scariest thing in this movie was seeing things that weren’t there to every other character. 

Because of that, the inclination is to say it was a scary movie. It was acceptable as the scare factor was consistent. There is much to celebrate about it, and some things should have gone differently. 

To begin, Parker Finn, the director of “Smile,” should be congratulated for putting together a scary movie with classy jumpscares — an odd sounding way to classify jumpscares, but humor me for a moment. Most horror movies contain loud and aggressive, one after the other jumpscares that really don’t do anything except supply a cardiac arrest. 

The scene of Joel, the ex-boyfriend of the main character, who actually wasn’t Joel in that scene toward the end of the movie? That was classy. Him standing there before cutting into a dead sprint at Rose was a classy jumpscare. So, it was as a horror movie should be.

The cat scene was something else. That was scary on a sad level, and Mustache the cat was the real victim. Not only this, but, the consistency of the smile was everywhere, and so the theme never really strayed. 

Something that should be brought up is the placement of the beginning credits. They actually began after the big moment between Rose and Laura Weaver, which is around seven or so minutes after the start of the movie. While this is a stylistic choice and can work well in a lot of indie films, it made it confusing. 

The cinematography was one of the movie’s strongest points, though.

Specific scenes of a beautiful country landscape full of trees created less of a horror movie ambience, truthfully, but it was still appreciated. The camera at one moment flips completely upside down, and the whole landscape was hanging from the ceiling of the screen in a really artistic way. While not scary, it was lovely to see.

It was creative, and it was clear the people filming had a lot of fun with transitioning scenes. 

Something happening time and time again is the way in which serious setting movies throw in jokes to disrupt the flow. It looks like this movie mimicked that concept. The nurse hitting on Rose’s ex, especially, was just not good. 

The joke had just followed Rose pushing Joel away, which was sort of off-putting because it was one of the first steps in her slow spiral downward. The way trauma is represented in the movie is similar to how people cope in real life which was strong in that scene, yet cheapened by the joke. Up until that point, the movie was doing fine. In short, it was hard watching the movie shove in that insignificant interaction. 

It was great watching the idea of a curse attaching itself to trauma, hopping from one person to the next. Rose really can represent a lot of watchers because trauma is so vast and complicated. Her journey is relatable, and it can show what happens when you let it consume you. 

So, this movie can be summed up as being scary enough to be a horror movie, but beautiful enough to easily come outside horror standards. Jokes thrown in between intense scenes bring down the quality of the scare. Consider it a party foul. It is made up by creating seriously scary scenes with the hallucinations, so brownie points are brought back.

This movie is great for people who like horror movies with a deeper theme. Watch it on a busy theater day. A room full of people is going to feel a lot better when things start hitting the fan in the movie. It gets real.