GOOD: Smile

smile laura

Released: 22 September 2022

A relatively small budget made Smile something of an underdog, especially considering the apparent gamble taken on writer/director Parker Finn. This certainly made it an unlikely contender for one of 2022’s better offerings, but ultimately, that’s exactly what it was. Based on Finn’s short film Laura Hasn’t Slept, Smile stars Sosie Bacon as Dr. Rose Cotter, a psychologist forced to contend with her deep-seated childhood trauma after witnessing a gruesome suicide.

Armed with an interesting premise and a handful of recognizable stars, Smile certainly had potential, but it turned out to be better than expected. Thanks in part to an impressively robust marketing push, the film earned an impressive box-office return on its budget, winning critics over in the process. Successfully executing the nuances of its deeper themes and ideas, Smile proved to be one of the year’s surprising stand-outs.

It’s not that the film wasn’t without its issues (there’s some potentially problematic subtext and some of its themes were criticized as unoriginal), but it overcame them in a way that allowed for it to be both decently enjoyable and far scarier than expected. With plenty of jump scares and a deeper story that touches on the idea of contending with personal trauma, Smile proved itself a sound horror movie. It’s the level of Smile‘s success that’s the real surprise though, as it far surpassed all expectations to become one of 2022’s unexpected hits.