Friday 23 December 2022

Smile (2022)

It's a thriller/chiller spook-fest, verging on horror! This is a fairly decent film by relative newbie Parker Finn which tries to make the most of an unexplained 'entity' doing the rounds passing itself along between people as they die. It's nothing particularly new but it's been done here pretty well.

An unfeasibly young psychiatric doctor in a hospital, Rose, stops in to help a patient who is having apparent paranoid delusions and is very distressed. Rose tries to talk her down but things go from bad to worse and the patient kills herself in front of her. Following this incident, Rose starts to get apparent delusions and hallucinations herself and it starts to ruin her life as it takes grip.

Those around her, sister, fiance, previous boyfriend, therapist and boss, all start to get very concerned about Rose as her behaviour and control go out the window. She tries really hard to hold it together but at the same time, to uncover what on earth is going on with her. It just so happens that her ex-boyfriend is a copper and can help her to research this, looking into a imeline of similar incidents from the patient in question above, backwards.

Rose and her sister also have a troubled past as their mother committed suicide when they were kids and the pair of them have carried various emotions following that throughout most of their lives, explaining the therapist. She starts to unravel what's going on in a (what she has discovered now to be) race against the clock to get stuff sorted before it all really goes pear-shaped!

The whole thing is, of course, the stuff of supernatural fantasy 'evil'  if happening at all, and she'll only work it out and release herself from the trauma and situation she's apparently in by facing it head-on, making for the usual kind of finale/showdown - in a deserted cabin in the woods with no electricity. You get the idea!

Sosie Bacon (Mare of Easttown) plays the lead pretty well. The downward spiral her character finds herself in, chaos and collapse, away from her generally well-ordered, stable life is reflected well by the actress. The supporting cast are decent enough, but it's Bacon who shines out. Oh, and just before any killing happens, the person/victim pulls a broad grin across their face - hence the title!

There are a number of silly jump-scare moments which really are not needed. Just silly. There's enough spooky imagery and unsettling visuals for the director not to have had to rely on that. He needs to take a look at Scandinavian film/TV to see how that's done beautifully without the cheap stuff. There are various special effects which come off well, nicely pulled together with haunting music leading the viewer into the sinister scenes. (And then of course stopping dead just before a jump-scare. It's so transparent. Why do they bother!)

Anyway, laying that aside, it's a good enough outing but I would wait until the price drops to view it (unless you have lots of Google Play tokens or equivalent to use) and not pay full price just now. For fans of horror, it's a good fun outing which they'll enjoy.

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