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The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Smile made me frown more than anything

Sosie Bacon’s performance in “Smile” offers nothing to smile about.
Parker+Finn%E2%80%99s+latest+horror+venture+isn%E2%80%99t+the+least+bit+horrifying
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Parker Finn’s latest horror venture isn’t the least bit horrifying

 I understand why mediocre bore-fests like “Smile” succeed at the box office and it’s simply because the general public doesn’t care about what they watch. In the age of Netflix and accessible piracy, films mean very little to my generation and as a result films like this thrive — which is sad because there are some good films in theaters right now, this just isn’t one of them.

   The waste of time stars Sosie Bacon as the woman-on-the-verge-of-a-nervous-breakdown character that totally hasn’t been done to death in recent horror films at all, and her elongated quest to… uh… stop the smiling people?

   I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve forgotten almost all of this film’s narrative and that’s my exact problem with it. Why on Earth would I intentionally spend my time with a forgettable film? I want experiences, I want something that will stick with me. This film does the bare minimum and as a result, I wasn’t the least bit invested in watching it and my cognitive rehash of the experience proves little to none, simply because it is immensely clichéd and egregiously paced.

   It’s yet another tired exercise in fake-out jumpscares, which I am shocked people still pay to see. Every other scene in this film features the main character experiencing a hallucination that makes a loud noise and then promptly realizes that it was all in her head. This is a routine that anyone can get tired of immediately, and it’s all this film has. 

   From a visual perspective, the film is so bland and flat-looking that my eyes almost started hurting from how relentlessly dull it looked. Scenes with absolutely no progression to the plot take up 50% of this film — adding to the horridity of this experience from the borderline awful performances from the cast. Almost every ensemble member delivers their lines in the exact same tone and timbre, no matter the subject of their sentence. It’s nearly comical how unenthusiastic everyone is about their supposedly terrifying situation. All of the victims of the ‘smile demon’ either succumb to its smiling ways or have post-traumatic fits of hysteria at the mere thought or discussion of the subject — it’s never creepy or alarming, it’s plain laughable at points, which I know wasn’t the intended reaction.

   The lead doesn’t offer much range either. It seems the only emotional reactions she is capable of are being ‘mortified’ or ‘on edge’, additionally, she isn’t a fleshed-out character. If I remember correctly, they try to flesh out her character by alluding to some neglect she faced as a child, which has become so cemented as the cliché thing you need to do to add substance to a character that I seriously wanted her to get killed by whatever the mysterious ‘smile demon’ was. I don’t care about her! The film gave me absolutely no reason to be invested.

   All this film does to hold your attention are the occasional jumpscares, which hold no narrative significance because none of them are genuine conflicts in the film’s universe until the very end.

   In my opinion, wasting my time for an entire movie, almost 80 minutes worth of absolute nothing, and then hammering in a forced ‘trippy’ scene at the very end isn’t a rewarding experience. I don’t rate or enjoy a film based on selective moments, I want to take my time throughout the entire film, to analyze and appreciate the filmmaking. This film is relentlessly snore-inducing and unintentionally comedic. At one moment, I turned to my friend beside me and whispered, “This is the most bored at the movies I’ve been in a long time.”

   I apologize if this review is coming from an aggressive, biased point-of-view, but the fact of the matter is that “Smile” is so uninspired in both its presentation and concept that all I can hope is that it underperforms so we never get another film like it again. Knowing the modern-movie-going landscape, however, I believe the exact opposite will happen.

Final Verdict: 3/10

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About the Contributor
Dashiell Dekker, Arts & Entertainment Co-Editor
Dashiell Dekker is the Arts and Entertainment Co-Editor. He is a senior in his fourth and final year in high school journalism. His innate passion for media resonates in his film reviews, which he is consistently writing. He hopes to carry his affinity for entertainment journalism into the future, but above anything else, he aspires to be a director.
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