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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Oct 15, 2022



THERE WAS a movie in 2009 titled “Smile”, about a camera that is cursed and anyone whose picture it takes ends up dying mysteriously.  

A new movie also titled “Smile” is now showing in local theatres and the premise is somewhat similar. 

This plotline about a curse being transferred from one person to another has also been used in such films as “The Ring”, “It Follows”, “Final Destination”, “Relic”, “Oculus” and even our own “Feng Shui”.

“Smile 2022” is the directorial debut of Parker Finn who expanded it from a short film he did earlier about insomnia. He adds a simple facial attribute to the familiar trope: smiling. 

You can smile though your heart is aching, as the song goes, but this creates a truly macabre effect in the film.  

In a hospital, a psychiatrist, Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon, daughter of actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick), is called to talk to a patient, a doctoral candidate who says she is hounded by an entity who earlier killed her professor who committed suicid right in front of her while smiling. 

The patient later smiles at Rose before cutting her own throat with a broken flower vase. Soon, strange things start happening to Rose. Her alarm system mysteriously goes haywire. 

She eerily sees the smiling apparition of her dead patient in the dark, indicating that she would be the entity’s next victim. 

Worried about her mental health, her superior tells her to take a week off and rest. 

But bizarre happenings continue to haunt her. At the birthday party of her nephew, her present turns out to be her dead cat who earlier went missing. 

Everyone is horrified and she insists she didn’t do it, but it turns off even her own sister, Holly (Gillian Zinser.) 

She tells her live in boyfriend, Trevor (Jessie T. Usher, the son of Samuel Jackson in “Shaft”), that she’s been cursed, but he is not sympathetic to her.  

As usual in films like this, no one would believe the lead character, thinking she’s just being hysterical and is about to have a nervous breakdown. 

Rose then asks a cop who’s her ex-boyfriend, Joel (Kyle Gallner, “Scream”), to help her investigate. 

In the police records, they discover that there are many other cases of people who are also haunted before they kill themselves and transfer the curse to people who have witnessed them committing suicide with a smile. 

Things get from bad to worse as the entity impersonates even Rose’s own therapist and her own dead mother. 

The movie gets gimmicky to create jump scares where Rose is talking to a character who later turns out to be the entity itself. 

The character then rips its own skin off his face to further terrorize Rose.

In all fairness, these scenes can be quite convincing, with the editing and the musical score expertly timed as it reveals the shocking surprise. 

The concept of a creepy, ominous smile from a person who’s about to die truly leaves quite a chilling image and it must really be traumatic to any person who sees it happening right before him.

If you’re looking for a fright movie to scare you come Halloween, this might be right up your alley. 

The role of the tormented heroine gives Bacon the chance to show how persuasively intense she can be as the line that divides reality, imagination and sanity for her becomes so blurred. 

It is revealed that she is also haunted by a traumatic past involving the death of her abusive mother when she was ten years old.

But the director doesn’t seem to know how to give the movie a more satisfying ending. 

In an effort to make it more horrifying, Rose is made to go back to the house where her mother died and she encounters the ghost of her past. 

We won’t elaborate anymore as you yourself might like the ending. 

But we certainly wish they didn’t anymore show that thing that reminds us of the creature from the “Silent Hill” video game. 

It’s really quite superfluous and underwhelming after the very involving buildup.