Smile (2022 film): Analyzing The Psychological Horror

Don Marley

Smile Film

Smile (2022) is a psychological supernatural horror film written and directed by Parker Finn. The movie stars Sosie Bacon, who plays a therapist facing terrifying experiences after witnessing the bizarre suicide of a patient. As she tries to understand what’s happening, the threat seems to grow more personal and menacing.

The film is known for its intense atmosphere and chilling storyline. It explores themes of trauma and mental illness through a gripping narrative that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. Finn’s directorial debut received attention for its effective use of suspense and horror elements.

If you’re a fan of horror that combines psychological tension with supernatural elements, Smile (2022) might be your next watch. Learn more about its plot, themes, and reception to see why it stands out in the horror genre.

Unmasking the Horror: A Deep Dive into Smile (2022)

The Plot: More Than Meets the Eye

Smile isn’t your average jump-scare horror. It follows Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist who witnesses a traumatic event with a patient. Shortly after, she begins experiencing unsettling occurrences, including terrifying hallucinations and a sinister, inescapable smile that seems to follow her. The film delves into Rose’s spiraling mental state as she desperately tries to understand and break the curse before it claims her life.

Themes: Trauma and Mental Health

One of the most powerful aspects of “Smile” is its exploration of trauma. The film doesn’t shy away from depicting the raw, devastating impact of traumatic events on the human psyche. It shows how trauma can manifest in disturbing ways, haunting victims and distorting their reality. Mental health is not just a backdrop; it’s a central character in the story.

Symbolism: The Smile

The eponymous smile is more than just a creepy visual. It serves as a symbol of the hidden pain and trauma that people carry within themselves. It’s a mask that hides the darkness lurking beneath the surface. The smile also represents the infectious nature of trauma, how it can spread and consume those who come into contact with it.

Critical Reception and Controversy

“Smile” garnered mixed reviews from critics. Some praised its exploration of trauma and mental health, while others criticized its reliance on jump scares and familiar horror tropes. However, it sparked important conversations about the portrayal of mental illness in media and its potential impact on viewers.

Smile (2022): A Psychological Horror That Will Leave You Thinking

PlotExplores the psychological effects of trauma and the descent into madness
ThemesTrauma, mental health, the infectious nature of suffering
SymbolismThe smile as a representation of hidden pain, trauma, and the spread of negativity
Critical ReceptionMixed reviews, praised for its psychological depth but criticized for its use of jump scares
Impact on Mental HealthRaises awareness about the importance of mental health and the devastating consequences of untreated trauma

Key Takeaways

  • Smile (2022) is directed by Parker Finn and stars Sosie Bacon.
  • The film combines psychological and supernatural horror elements.
  • It has received attention for its suspenseful and chilling storyline.

Plot and Themes

“Smile” explores both psychological horror and supernatural elements. The film primarily centers on Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist who confronts a series of unsettling events after a traumatic incident involving one of her patients.


“Smile” tells the story of Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist who witnesses the strange and traumatic suicide of a patient. Following this event, she starts experiencing disturbing occurrences that leave her questioning her grasp on reality. The film takes her through a series of eerie confrontations with an uncanny entity that seems linked to her experiences with the patient. As she tries to uncover the mystery, the curse around these events becomes clearer, revealing layers of fear and desperation.

Exploration of Trauma

The film delves into trauma, focusing on how past experiences can come back into one’s life in unexpected ways. After witnessing the traumatic suicide, Rose starts reliving her personal past traumas. She faces visions and episodes that force her to confront old wounds. This theme is central to “Smile,” as it highlights the ripple effects of untreated psychological wounds. In portraying these experiences, the film underscores the importance of addressing trauma to halt its pervasive and destructive influence.

Influence and Cultural References

“Smile” draws certain elements from horror classics like “It Follows” and The Ring, incorporating a curse that moves from person to person. It uses these influences to build a narrative focused on dread and inevitability. There are visual and thematic nods to Japanese horror’s eerie and unsettling style, adding depth to the film’s atmosphere. By blending different horror traditions, the director introduces a fresh yet familiar story to the genre.

Ending Interpretation

The film’s ending leaves a lasting impact by blurring the lines between reality and supernatural elements. As Rose confronts the entity in the final scenes, the viewers are left questioning what is real and what isn’t. The climax highlights the enduring effects of the curse, suggesting that the battle with trauma and dark forces may never truly end. The unresolved nature of the ending adds to the chilling effect, leaving the audience in a state of reflection.

Production and Reception

The horror film “Smile,” released in 2022, left a notable mark with its execution and public reception. This section looks at the film’s casting, direction, critical response, and marketing strategies.

Casting and Performances

The film cast Sosie Bacon as the lead, Dr. Rose Cotter. She is a psychiatrist haunted by frightening events after witnessing a patient’s trauma. Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey, Jessie T. Usher, and Kal Penn played key roles, contributing to the depth of the narrative. The performances, especially Bacon’s, were praised for their authenticity and emotional depth. This contributed significantly to the film’s immersive and unsettling atmosphere, drawing audiences into the story’s tension-filled world. The actors’ commitment to their roles was evident, enhancing the film’s psychological impact.

Direction and Cinematography

Parker Finn directed “Smile” in his feature directorial debut. The film’s direction was designed to elicit constant tension and fear, a hallmark of effective horror movies. The use of practical effects over CGI added realism to the supernatural elements, enhancing the film’s horror. Cinematography played a vital role, using shadows and lighting to build suspense. Key scenes were filmed in New Jersey, including places like Jersey City, Union County, and Hoboken, which provided a haunting and atmospheric backdrop. The direction and visual style worked together to create a gripping and visually intense experience.

Critical Analysis and Box Office

“Smile” received positive reviews, praised for its unsettling narrative and strong performances. Critics noted the film’s effective use of horror tropes and its ability to sustain a frightening atmosphere. It stood out for expanding on Finn’s earlier short film, “Laura Hasn’t Slept”. Financially, the movie achieved impressive box office success, grossing over $70 million domestically. This success was notable, especially considering the competition in the horror genre. The film’s box office performance highlighted its appeal among horror fans and its effectiveness in delivering genuine scares.

Distribution and Marketing

Paramount Pictures handled the distribution of “Smile”. The film premiered at Fantastic Fest and SXSW, where it received positive feedback. The marketing included unsettling trailers and strategic releases on digital platforms. These tactics helped build anticipation and draw audiences to theaters. Effective use of social media and other platforms increased visibility and engagement. The film benefited from this multi-faceted marketing approach, contributing to its strong performance at the box office and its lasting impact on audiences.

Frequently Asked Questions

The 2022 film “Smile” has generated many questions from viewers. This section answers some of the most common inquiries.

Is ‘Smile’ available for streaming on Netflix?

No, “Smile” is not available for streaming on Netflix currently. You may need to check other streaming platforms or rental services for availability.

Where can I watch the full movie ‘Smile’ from 2022?

You can watch “Smile” on several platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, and iTunes. The movie is available for purchase or rent on these services.

What is the IMDb rating of the 2022 film ‘Smile’?

“Smile” has an IMDb rating of 6.7 out of 10. This indicates generally favorable reviews from viewers.

How does the movie ‘Smile’ conclude?

The movie ends with the main character confronting the entity that has been haunting her. The resolution involves a tense and emotional struggle. For a detailed explanation, check out an in-depth breakdown on Smile Movie Ending Explained.

What are the reasons behind the R rating for ‘Smile’?

“Smile” received an R rating due to its intense horror elements, including graphic violence, disturbing images, and strong language. The film’s content is suited for mature audiences.

What is the premise of the 2022 film ‘Smile’?

The story follows a therapist who starts experiencing terrifying visions after witnessing a patient’s suicide. These visions often feature people with eerie smiles, adding to the horror. Check out more details on Smile (2022) – IMDb.