Wednesday 30 November 2022

REVIEW: Smile (2022) - Starring Sosie Bacon and Jessie T. Usher

Review by Jon Donnis
I have been wanting to watch Smile for a while, but just not gotten round to it until tonight. It has been a massive hit, grossing $215 million worldwide against a $17 million budget. So, with everyone and their mother seemingly enjoying it, I thought it was time I watched.

Smile is a psychological horror film written and directed by Parker Finn and based on his 2020 short film Laura Hasn't Slept, which you can watch in full below.

Sosie Bacon is stressed and overworked psychiatrist Dr. Rose Cotter, she is giving a therapy session to a PhD student Laura Weaver (Played by Caitlin Stasey, who was also in the 2020 short). Laura tells Dr Cotter how a few days prior she had witnessed the suicide of her art history professor. She tells Rose that an entity taking the form of smiling people is stalking her, and telling her she is going to die. Suddenly Laura begins screaming hysterically, and starts having a seizure. Rose quickly grabs the telephone to call for help, but when she turns around, Laura is stood there behind her, with a huge grin on her face, holding a piece of a broken plant pot, Laura then uses the shard to cut her own throat, smiling throughout, and even smiling after she has hit the floor and starts bleeding out. (really freaky moment that sets the stage for the whole film)

Later on, Rose sees another of her patients, Carl Renken (Jack Sochet) smiling at her, and he starts shouting at her and saying she (Rose) is going to die. Rose calls for the nurses to restrain him, but when she turns around, Carl was seemingly asleep the whole time!

Rose's supervisor Dr. Morgan Desai (Kal Penn) concerned for her mental health after everything she has seen and been through, decides to give Rose a week off to rest.

As time goes on Rose starts to hallucinate more, and her behaviour seems more erratic to those around her. She is invited to her Nephews birthday party, she gives him a present,. but when he opens it, it is Rose's dead cat. Rose has another mental breakdown, and hallucinates once again, seeing one of the guests grinning at her menacingly. Rose then falls onto a glass table, cutting herself in the process. I think the child's birthday was ruined at this point!

The film then revolves around Rose trying to understand what is happening to her, investigating other similar occurrences and deaths, and ultimately trying to fight against whatever or whoever it is doing this.

Sosie Bacon really is the star of this film; her performance is excellent and totally convincing. Is everything she is experiencing real, or is she just having a mental breakdown like those she has cared for?

As horror films go, this has its moments, there are quite a few jump scares, and some freaky events that will get in your head. A run time of 1 hour 50 minutes is a tad long, and they could have easily shaved off 20 minutes to get to the magic 90 minutes, but with that said the film never drags, and will keep you interested.

The visual effects are decent, nothing looks silly or over the top.

The Good
Very good performance by Sosie Bacon. A nice story, with plenty of classic horror style moments, designed to catch you off guard, and raise your heart beat. And the ending is very satisfying.

The Bad
A little too long, and Kal Penn was disappointing, considering he was the biggest name in the film. He came across as wooden and lacking character.

A high-quality psychological horror film, that ticks most of the boxes.

I score Smile a solid 8.5/10

In UK Cinemas now! And you can pre-order on Amazon Prime at

SMILE is available on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, and DVD December 26.