Director: Parker Finn
Cast: Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner
Release Date: December 13, 2022
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
The film stars Sosie Bacon as Dr. Rose Cotter who, after witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. As an overwhelming terror begins taking over her life, Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.
Please Note: Paramount Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Smile’ tells the haunting tale of Dr. Rose Cotter (Bacon) who after witnessing a horrific event with a new patient brought into her facility for care soon discovers that the mysterious entity that plagued the young woman has seemingly attached to her. As Rose starts experiencing sudden hallucinations and other unexplained events and visions, she soon begins to realize that this force is far more real than she could have fathomed. Uncovering a chain of connected deaths that seem to lead back from her, Rose soon comes to the realization that she will have to somehow try and uncover a way to stop the curse before she becomes its latest victim.
Written and directed by Parker Finn who does a magnificent job at the helm of ‘Smile’ which marks his feature length directorial debut and was actually inspired by his own short film ‘Laura Hasn’t Slept’ which is also included on this release. Finn’s work behind the camera guiding along this eerie horror thriller with plenty of care and style is only complemented by a well-selected cast that includes Sosie Bacon (TV’s Mare of Easttown), Jessie T. Usher (TV’s The Boys), Kyle Gallner (Scream 2022), Kal Penn (TV’s The Santa Clauses), Rob Morgan (Don’t Look Up) and more, with the majority each offering fitting and quite capable performances in each of their respective roles for the most part that help to make this one work as well as it does.
‘Smile’ is a delightfully creepy and unnerving tale of one woman’s quest to uncover the truth of a horrific curse that she has become the latest potential victim of after a terrifying encounter at work. Beautifully crafted and brimming with style and thrills around each turn, it cleverly utilizes the various tools at its disposal to complement and ramp up the unease and eeriness throughout. With camera shots that flip the picture upside down and almost convey the feeling of everything spinning out of control, to the manner in which the camera follows the perception of the character when looking for something and then throws it into your face as it’s thrown into theirs onscreen; as well as more minor touches such as quick flashes of a gruesome suicide aftermath when it’s referenced. It all only adds up piece by piece in order to form a beautifully shot and consistently tense tale that allows the viewer to feel as out of place as our lead and really helps this one to build into something quite special. Not to mention making for an impressive feature-length debut from filmmaker Parker Finn who will definitely be a talent worth keeping an eye on.
Overall, ‘Smile’ is a tense, unsettling and beautifully shot horror tale that takes a somewhat basic outline and makes the most of it, utilizing everything from visually stellar camera techniques and shots which only complement the stylish guidance of director Parker Finn and a pretty solid cast for the most part that’s led by Sosie Bacon to back it up. The result is a massively entertaining and wonderfully creepy tale that’s worth taking the time to check out. ‘Smile’ is definitely recommended, especially for genre fans that appreciate a creepy and at times quite graphic new tale that’s loaded with enough satisfying scares and chills to keep you glued to the screen. If you’re already even mildly intrigued by this one then it will probably prove worthy of your time and the price of a rental. At the time of this writing Paramount Plus subscribers are also able to stream the film at no additional cost.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Smile’ features a full 2160p Ultra High Definition presentation with Dolby Vision and HDR-10, presented in its original 2.00:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a sharp, clean and vibrantly detailed presentation from start to finish. It holds up impressively throughout even during the many darkly lit and more heavily populated sequences and keeps everything looking immaculately detailed down to facial features, city overviews and backgrounds both indoors and out; never allowing anything that’s occurring onscreen to become problematic along the way. The Dolby Vision addition only helps everything within to look that much more spectacular, contributing a gorgeous color palette and plenty of deep, rich and seemingly endless blacks that don’t disappoint. Overall, this is a great Ultra High Definition video presentation that shouldn’t have any trouble satisfying fans or first time viewers.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack makes a perfect complement to the onscreen unease and tension and provides a crisp, clean and often hard hitting audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the eerie score and other creepy noises throughout the various speakers, along with nature content, crowd chatter and plenty more, while never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously clashing with one another or becoming problematic. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that holds up great throughout and should easily please the masses.
The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of ‘Smile’ includes some nice bonus material that fans of the film should enjoy. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Parker Finn’, in addition to the ‘Laura Hasn’t Slept – Original Short with Introduction by Parker Finn’ (running approximately 11 minutes) which inspired the film, plus a couple of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie with Optional Commentary by Parker Finn (running approximately 12 minutes in length combined). We are also treated to the behind the scenes Featurette ‘Something’s Wrong with Rose: Making Smile’ (approximately 29 minutes) which includes interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. Also included is a look behind creating the film’s music in ‘Flies on the Wall: Inside the Score’ (approximately 9 minutes).
*Please note: The above images were provided by Paramount and are not reflective of the actual 4K Ultra HD release or its quality. A standard Blu-ray copy of the film was not included in the release that could be used for screenshots therefore the above publicity stills were utilized. They are all the property of Paramount and any other respective owners.
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
‘Smile’ Arrives Home on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray & DVD on December 13, 2022 & is Now Available to Own on Digital & Streaming on Paramount+ from Paramount Home Entertainment
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