Parker Finn’s debut feature film, ‘Smile,’ created quite a buzz on the internet when its trailer dropped on YouTube in June of this year. ‘Smile’ delves into high-concept horror, following Dr. Rose Cotter as she becomes the target of an unrelenting supernatural entity that manifests through eerie smiles on people’s faces around her. One of Rose’s patients insists she sees these sinister smiles directed at her when no one else can. The film has drawn comparisons to popular horror classics like ‘It Follows’ and ‘The Ring’ due to its premise, where an unseen terror looms, threatening an ominous fate. In a recent featurette posted earlier this month, Parker Finn shared his vision, aiming to create ‘a film that feels like an escalating nightmare.’ Given Finn’s track record, it’s safe to say he has a knack for capturing nightmarish horror.
How Can I Watch Smile?
While initially slated for a release on Paramount+, ‘Smile’ took an exciting turn after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from test screenings. The film had its grand theatrical premiere on September 30, 2022, and you might still be able to catch it in select theaters. For those eager to watch it from the comfort of their homes, here’s the good news: ‘Smile’ became available on Paramount+ and Digital platforms on November 15, 2022. Paramount+ offers various subscription plans, starting at just $4.99 per month.
But wait, there’s more! If you’re not a Paramount+ subscriber, you’re in luck. Starting February 21, 2023, you can stream ‘Smile’ on Prime Video as well.
Who Has Been Cast In Smile?
Get ready for some familiar faces in the cast of ‘Smile.’ Leading the way is Sosie Bacon, the talented daughter of Hollywood stars Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. Fans of MTV’s ‘Scream: The TV Series’ will delight in seeing Bacon take on the role of a leading scream queen this time. Joining the ensemble is Jessie T. Usher, renowned for his portrayal of the speedy A-Train in Amazon Prime’s ‘The Boys,’ although he’s not featured in the trailer. Interestingly, another speedster from TV history makes an appearance in the film. Kyle Gallner, known for his role as Bart Allen on ‘Smallville,’ joins the cast. Gallner boasts an impressive horror filmography, with credits including ‘The Haunting in Connecticut,’ the 2010 reboot of ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street,’ and the beloved goth character Colin Gray in the cult classic ‘Jennifer’s Body.’ Adding even more diversity to the cast, comedy fans will recognize Kal Penn, who famously played Kumar in ‘Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle’ and its sequels. In ‘Smile,’ he takes on the role of Dr. Morgan Desai and is seen questioning Dr. Cotter in the trailer.
Where Can I watch Parker Finn’s Shorts?
Let’s delve into the works of writer and director Parker Finn, who has recently made a name for himself in the horror genre with two compelling shorts: ‘The Hidebehind’ and ‘Laura Hasn’t Slept.’
First up, ‘The Hidebehind,’ which earned accolades such as the Special Jury Award at the 2019 South by Southwest Film Festival and the Jury Award at the 2019 Portland Horror Film Festival. The film’s success in Portland can be attributed to its relatable hipster lumberjack protagonist, the eerie forest setting, and the clever use of an urban legend rooted in the American West. The hidebehind legend was employed to explain the mysterious disappearances of loggers in remote, forested areas. In recent times, this cryptid gained more recognition after appearing in the book version of ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ and the ‘Gravity Falls’ shorts, specifically ‘Dipper’s Guide to the Unexplained.’ Despite the hidebehind typically being a nocturnal creature, Finn took a bold approach by shooting the film during daylight. This decision not only showcased his resourcefulness as an independent filmmaker but also added a spine-chilling dimension to the story. ‘The Hidebehind’ is currently available for free viewing on ALTER’s YouTube channel.
Next on the list is ‘Laura Hasn’t Slept,’ which served as the source of inspiration for ‘Smile.’ Regrettably, it seems that ‘Laura Hasn’t Slept’ has been removed from the internet. However, for those unafraid of potential spoilers, a tech-savvy Redditor thoughtfully shared an archived link to the short within the r/horror community, courtesy of the Wayback Machine. The film unfolds within the context of a therapy session and gradually descends into a mind-bending journey of madness. Fans of the ‘Smile’ trailer may recognize Caitlin Stasey, the actress who portrays the enigmatic Laura. Whether this patient and Laura are one and the same remains an intriguing mystery.
Horror Movies Like Smile Available to Watch Now
Let’s explore some notable horror films that have garnered comparisons to ‘Smile,’ the intriguing upcoming horror flick by writer and director Parker Finn:
First on our list is ‘It Follows,’ a visually striking and unforgettable horror film from the 2010s. This movie cleverly serves as an allegory for sexually transmitted diseases among teenagers. What sets it apart is its deliberate use of a timeless setting, ensuring that its relevant message resonates across generations. The release of ‘Smile’s’ trailer immediately sparked comparisons due to their shared theme of supernatural forces inhabiting others to stalk their prey.
Next up is ‘The Ring,’ an iconic horror film rivaled only by classics like ‘The Grudge’ and the ‘Saw’ franchise. It’s a cinematic gem that left an indelible mark on early 2000s horror. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that filmmaker Parker Finn drew inspiration from ‘The Ring.’ The film’s psychological stress, amplified by the haunting concept of impending doom, might have influenced the eerie atmosphere of ‘Smile.’
Now, let’s take a moment to appreciate the original Japanese film that started it all: ‘Ringu.’ This movie not only changed the landscape of J-horror but also served as the foundation for countless American-Japanese horror remakes. ‘Ringu’ shares many elements with its American counterpart but boasts a more avant-garde and disjointed style. It’s often likened to the works of David Lynch, creating an experience that feels like a series of unsettling nightmares rather than a straightforward narrative.
Lastly, ‘Men’ is a recent release from 2022, brought to us by the talented writer and director Alex Garland, known for ‘Ex-Machina.’ This A24 film delves into the life of a traumatized woman who encounters the same face on every man she meets, including a child. ‘Men’ cleverly subverts the “good-for-her” trope to comment on how societal misogyny can lead to the radicalization of women and the rise of gender-critical feminism and bio-essentialism in the U.K. Brace yourself, as the film’s closing moments are filled with intense body horror. This one is not for the faint of heart.