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Finn Parker
Sosie Bacon, Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner
Writing Credits:
Finn Parker

After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can't explain. Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.

Box Office:
$17 million.
Opening Weekend
$22,609,925 on 3645 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
Dolby Vision
English Dolby Atmos
English Audio Description
German Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
French Canadian Dolby 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Japanese Dolby 5.1
French Canadian
Latin Spanish
Supplements Subtitles:
French Canadian
Latin Spanish

Runtime:115 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 12/13/2022

• Audio Commentary with Director Finn Parker
• “Something’s Wrong With Rose” Featurette
• “Flies on the Wall” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
Laura Hasn’t Slept Short


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Smile [4K UHD] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 11, 2022)

As I write this in early December, you need to go to number 12 on the US 2022 box office chart to find the first movie not based on another property: Jordan Peele’s Nope. However, given the success of Peele’s prior two movies, that one hit screens as a borderline “tent pole” movie with the requisite high financial expectations.

Two slots lower at number 14, you find the most successful “sleeper” of 2022: the horror tale Smile. The feature debut of writer/director Finn Parker, this one cost a mere $17 million and grossed $215 million worldwide.

Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) works as an emergency room therapist at Mount Pleasant Hospital. Newly admitted college student Laura Weaver (Caitlin Stasey) seems out of her mind as she claims a malevolent spirit stalks her.

As Rose works with her, Rose suddenly morphs into a creepy grin – and then uses part of a broken vase to slit her own throat. Understandably, this traumatizes Rose and sends her down a dark path that forces her to question her own sanity.

Though I referred to Smile as an original property, that only seems half-true. Found elsewhere on this disc, Parker based the full-length film on his 2019 short Laura Hasn’t Slept.

However, Slept acts as a teaser for Smile, really, as it focuses solely on Laura Weaver and her unnamed therapist. Obviously Smile expands these horizons to a substantial degree.

Given those strong box office returns, clearly Smile struck a chord with audiences. Although it debuted at number one, it didn’t take in a large percentage of its gross up front, as the movie remained in the US top five for a solid seven weeks.

To me that indicates excellent word of mouth, a factor that I admit perplexes me. While Smile occasionally shows signs of life, the end product largely leaves me cold.

Too much of the time, features based on short films betray their roots. They can often feel stretched past too far, as they attempt to extend their brief tales to full length.

That seems true for Smile, especially because it runs nearly two hours. If the movie leaned toward the 90-minute mark, it might work better because it wouldn’t feel as slow and monotonous.

Granted, I understand that Parker went for the “slow burn” vibe, and that required a tale that emerged in a gradual manner. Unfortunately, the narrative requires so much time to get where it needs to go that the viewer seems likely to lose interest along the way.

I do like that Smile walks the thin line between supernatural horror and psychological thriller. It eventually pushes in one particular direction, but whereas most movies of this sort telegraph matters early, this one leaves matters open for a relatively long span.

Unfortunately, Parker can’t find much to interest us along the way. Smile winds its way toward its climax at such a sluggish pace that it turns tedious along the way.

Of course, Smile attempts the usual jolts and jumps. Perhaps worried a totally insular film would keep audience attention, the film tosses out more than a few “boo moments” along the way.

These disappoint. While I find Smile to move too slowly, at least I’d respect the choices if the movie lacked hackneyed the hackneyed scares it attempts.

Parker wears his Kubrick influence on his sleeve, with obvious nods toward The Shining. I’ll say this: Bacon manages to pull off a descent into madness better than Jack Nicholson.

Shining’s Jack Torrance lacked much real development because as played by Nicholson, he always seemed more than a little nutty. On the other hand, Rose starts as fully “normal” but she gradually gets more and more out of sorts.

Bacon manages to make Rose’s decline appropriately natural and without too many showy “crazy moments”. Really, Bacon’s performance turns into the best part of the movie.

Too bad the rest of Smile can’t live up to Bacon’s work. While the movie’s basic premise intrigues, the end result fails to find enough substance to fill 116 minutes of film.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Smile appears in an aspect ratio of 2.00:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This Dolby Vision presentation looked pretty good.

Though probably not as great as one would expect given its photographic pedigree. Shot 6.5K and finished 4K, one might anticipate reference-quality visuals.

However, Smile didn’t offer the kind of story that would a boast dazzling image. It tended toward a dank, claustrophobic feel that meant it failed to jump off the screen.

Don’t take that as a complaint, however, as the 4K clearly replicated the source accurately. Sharpness felt appropriate, as most of the movie displayed solid clarity. Some mild softness popped up at times, but those instances matched the narrative.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws remained absent.

As implied earlier, Smile went with a murky vibe in terms of its palette, and that left it with an emphasis on a drab mix of amber, teal and brown. Again, the colors didn’t stand out, but the disc reproduced them appropriately, and HDR offered a bit more heft to the tones.

Blacks seemed tight and deep, while shadows offered the necessary delineation. HDR brought added range to whites and contrast. Nothing here will make your home theater demo reel, but the 4K reproduced the film well.

In the same vein, the film’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack didn’t utilize the format’s capabilities to their utmost. Nonetheless, as downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix worked fine.

As expected, the soundscape concentrated on moody ambience much of the time. Via a few scary moments, effects occasionally cropped up around the spectrum, and the film’s score also utilized the various channels well. Nonetheless, this was usually a restrained soundscape that went with a sinister feel but lacked a lot of concrete sizzle.

Audio quality appeared positive. Music was full and rich, while effects seemed accurate and clear.

Dialogue worked fine, as lines seemed natural. This became a suitable soundtrack for the story on display.

A few extras fill out the disc, and we open with an audio commentary from director Finn Parker. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, photography, music, the opening title, and related topics.

At times Parker gives us some good insights about the production. However, it often feels like he simply narrates the movie, so this becomes an inconsistent track.

Two featurettes follow, and Something’s Wrong With Rose lasts 29 minutes, seven seconds. It provides notes from Parker, producers Isaac Klausner and Robert Salerno, director of photography Charlie Sarroff, special effects makeup department head Jeremy Selenfriend, production designer Lester Cohen, costume designer Alexis Forte, makeup designer/special makeup effects artist Tom Woodruff Jr., and actors Caitlin Stasey, Sosie Bacon, Kyle Gallner, Robin Weigert, Jessie T. Usher, Kal Penn, Gillian Zinser, and Rob Morgan.

The show covers the original short film and its expansion to feature length, story/characters, Parker's work on the set, cast and performances, various effects, photography and production design, costumes, and locations. Some of the usual happy talk arrives, but this nonetheless turns into a fairly informative program.

Flies on the Wall goes for eight minutes, 50 seconds and brings a look at the score’s recording sessions. Given the unusual techniques in use, some of this becomes interesting, but the reel could really use commentary to explain the methods.

Two Deleted Scenes ensue: “Panic Attack” (9:03) and “You’re Gonna Be Okay” (2:36). “Attack” shows more of Rose’s unsettled mental state, whereas “Okay” depicts a late in the story interaction between Rose and Joel.

The latter feels more useful than the former, as it adds some color to the Rose/Joel relationship. “Attack” simply depicts more of Rose’s decline and would feel redundant in a movie already packed with that sort of sequence.

We can watch the scenes with or without commentary from Parker. He tells us a little about the scenes and why they didn’t make the cut.

Finally, Laura Hasn’t Slept occupies 11 minutes, 19 seconds and provides a 2019 short written and directed by Finn. It tells the story of the Laura character who gets integrated into Smile as the one who inaugurates Rose’s horrible journey.

Actually, though this might feel like a prequel to Smile, Laura’s experiences in the feature differ from those here, though they connect spiritually. In any case, Slept becomes a decent short.

A surprise hit, aspects of Smile show promise, and a strong lead performance from Sosie Bacon gives it heart. Unfortunately, the movie seems too slow and often redundant to turn into an involving experience. The 4K UHD comes with positive picture and audio along with a mix of bonus materials. As much as I want to like Smile, the end product just leaves me less than enthused.

Note that this Smile 4K can be purchased on its own or as part of a five-movie "Paramount Scares” box. That package also includes 4K UHD releases for Rosemary’s Baby, Pet Sematary (1989), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and Crawl (2019).

The package provides a special edition of Fangoria magazine along with some movie-related stickers. Also note that as of October 2023, the Sweeney Todd 4K is exclusive to the “Paramount Scares” box. The other four movies can be purchased on 4K individually.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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