Recently, a dark shiny dark horse has emerged in the Northern America movie market, which was released at the end of September and reigned as the Northern America box office champion for three weeks. It is this movie called ‘Smile’ in English.
What is more interesting is that this film from Paramount Pictures was originally an online movie produced by Paramount for its own streaming platform Paramount+, which can be interpreted as a big online movie produced by Paramount.
But after the pre-test screenings, the audience response was particularly good, Paramount decided to turn this into a theatrical film and increase publicity. And Paramount came up with a very evil trick in the publicity campaign, is to hire some actors, run to the reality of the smile.
For example, MLB MLB game site, but also specifically all the popular team’s game: a woman standing straight in the game site, with a creepy smile on her face, watching the field for hours on end, whoever looked at it sweat.
The scene was filmed by netizens and posted online, and soon someone noticed the eerie figure of the woman also appearing at some of the hearings, which immediately blew up on the Internet.
This alternative publicity effect is very good, a lot of media to cover, social media spread effect also produced, for this film earned a wave of traffic hard.
This made the movie’s box office figures in Northern America surprisingly firm after its release.
On its first day of release on September 30, it received $8.2 million at the box office. The viral publicity and good opening momentum allowed ‘Smile’ to ride high on the October box office charts.
In fact, as a network movie level movie, this film is not high in production costs, the total cost of about $ 17 million.
So the film’s opening weekend box office revenue, you can exceed the production costs, plus the next few weeks of release, the global box office is now more than $ 200 million, Paramount earned a hemp.
Of course, after all, it is a small-budget film, the actors are not too well-known, I guess the supporting role of Jessie Usher (‘The Boys’ in the A-Train) look familiar some.
Do not rely on big investment and superstar lineup, but can attract the audience to pay out of pocket to contribute to the box office, the film is still something.
The film is based on the director’s own 2020 short film ‘Laura Hasn’t Slept’ expanded, as the film’s title, the core of the new feature film story is – smile.
Including in the publicity, various previews, but also repeatedly emphasize the creepy feeling brought by this daily smile, the film also has a lot of places to appear in the smile thing.
The arc of blood on the shroud, the toy store outside the happy poster, the ordinary smile to give the meaning of terror, but also let the real “weird smile” mixed with a more bizarre emotions.
(There are some spoilers below, please watch at your discretion)
The film’s Rose Rose is a psychiatrist, the daily work is to contact a variety of mental illness patients, and they communicate, diagnosis, treatment.
What is certain is that she is a very professional and competent doctor. Even the leaders of the hospital are advising her not to keep working 80 hours a week upwards and to get well herself to help more patients.
Until one day, the arrival of a female student patient shattered this peace.
This female student was about to have a nervous breakdown after witnessing her professor’s suicide. Especially since the professor killed himself by smashing his own head with a hammer. Imagine what a chilling scene it is to kill yourself with a hammer in a desperate attempt to kill yourself.
So, this female student was extremely stimulated and started to be able to see some strange things.
Rose is not surprised, after all, she has met many such patients, is suddenly stimulated to start hallucinating.
However, this female student is really not. The two began to talk about the condition, but I did not expect not to chat a few sentences, the female student smiled weirdly, just look really quite creepy.
Then she cut her face with broken glass, from the right side of the face to the forehead a big mouth, the scene is very bloody.
And after this accident, the original do not believe in ghosts and gods of female doctors, suddenly also began to encounter some strange things:.
There would be people with that strange smile standing at a distance looking at her, there would be patients laughing strangely and then growling at her, and even in one’s home there was a feeling that something else was there, as if something ominous had started to enter her life.
Rose is so frightened that she starts to be at the border between reality and hallucination, and is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. In addition to making others understand what is happening to her, she is also trying to investigate what is going on…
But honestly, eighty percent of the film’s scare design is the traditional Jump Scare (jump scare), open the door to open the refrigerator midnight phone ring or something more or less cheesy, only occasionally a few of the more innovative:.
Let’s say Rose is listening carefully to an audio file recorded during a conversation with a female student, with a very small voice.
When the audience is fully focused on distinguishing the sound, a ghostly figure suddenly appears.
For example, Rose sister came out of the house to the car, knocking Rose car window, and suddenly the head fell down ….. Here is really scared me.
But until now, Rose wasn’t sure if she was seeing visions or ghosts, and it was hard for viewers to tell if the film was a ghost movie or a schizophrenic one – especially since the film deliberately used Rose’s past to set up the mystery.
Rose’s mother’s mental condition was not good, and she committed suicide by taking drugs, which also caused a great shadow to Rose’s childhood.
So we see that Rose, although she looks smart and strong on the surface, is so disturbed by this matter inside that she has to work overtime all the time to make herself feel better.
But more and more bizarre events are happening around Rose, even slowly affecting her family around her.
At her nephew’s birthday party, Rose’s gift is replaced with a dead cat, the same one she lost – which sends her into great fear and grief, and then into a faint.
All these things show that what Rose is experiencing, far from imaginary hallucinations, is a real horror.
At this point, she finds that all the strange signs are very similar to what Laura described, so Rose starts to trace Laura’s death, and thanks to the help of her ex-boyfriend Joel, a case can be uncovered.
The victims were traumatized by having “witnessed” other people’s suicides before committing suicide; another commonality was that they all had poor mental health and would end their own lives in a brutal way within a week.
It was like a curse or a contagious disease, passed on one by one through witnessing, and finally passed on from Laura to Rose.
Among the many “witnessed suicides”, only one survivor survives in prison, and Rose finds him and learns from him that cursed people can kill others to escape death, but the key is that someone must witness it.
In fact, see here, I think everyone can see the formula of this film – like the classic old film ‘Ring’, with the “curse of contagion” model.
In my opinion, the contagious nature of the curse is actually a very clever horror design, unlike the ghostly mansions, cemeteries, this kind of spreading curse is mobile, but also in the film will naturally plant a “spread of terror” dark line.
The protagonist follows the path to find the source of the curse, the audience can also be in this quest to understand the root cause of the curse and the infection mechanism, and in this process, the inexplicable, unqualified sense of horror, will also allow the audience to get a fresher horror experience.
However, there are films that use a similar setting, but with a very crude, like the ‘Incantation’ that was hotly debated online a while ago, also trying to infect the curse, which of course infects all the viewers watching the film, which is quite unpleasant.
At this point, the way to cut off the “spreading” curse was also logically reasoned out by Rose, that is, to survive alone, so that the necessary condition of “witnessing” could not be achieved, so she returned to her childhood home, ready to face the last fear here by herself.
The last fifteen minutes of the plot is also quite tight and exciting, also contains one or two unexpected (perhaps) reversals, here in order not to spoil the feelings of viewers who have not yet seen the original film, we will not spoil it.
In short, ‘Smile’ is one of the few horror works of the year that makes people shine, we can see a lot of shadows of other horror films from ‘Smile’, with the infectious nature of ‘It Follows’ ‘Ring’, a little bit of ‘The Conjuring’ in the blend of The overwhelming atmosphere, plus some small design jump scare, so that the film in the sense of horror atmosphere to pinpoint and the quality of the plot have reached a degree that people are still satisfied.
But watch the whole film, many viewers may feel that the film does not put the “creepy smile” the depth of the biggest gimmick very well interpreted, is a bit of a waste.
To be honest, ‘smile’ is something that would have a very complicated meaning, for example, in addition to the joy from the heart, a smile can also hide their emotions and force a smile.
As in the film, Rose is arguing with her sister when the meal arrives, so they are moved to smile in response.
Likewise, before Rose had to go out to meet people, she had to be strong to avoid being seen to be broken inside.
Like the ‘Joker’ a few years ago, is such a profound analysis of the ‘smile’ of the film: the Joker from a poor, suffering from mental problems of the circus performers, to the last strong screw smile finally become crazy, the whole process of transformation is very moving.
The film obviously also has the opportunity to do an in-depth interpretation of this emotion, but eventually returned to the traditional horror film formula, I have to say slightly regret some.
Related Post: Horror ‘Smile’ tops $200 million at global box office.