2022 was the first relatively normal year since COVID hit humanity, and theatres were more or less operating at normal rates and capacity. Projects that decided to hold out for a proper theatrical run were coming out and audiences had lots of choices of things to view. One thing that remained clear was that while most people were cooped up while looking for their escapes, they craved something original and inventive. And not only did they show up when a project met those criteria, they continued to show up. Looking at box office revenue, original movies, especially original horror, almost dominated the box office this year, outside of the hugely anticipated films, tentpoles, and sequels. Originality dominated, and when creating an original horror movie, the writer and director of Smile, Parker Finn, certainly managed to create something sure to creep out audiences while giving the horror fans something they truly could enjoy endlessly, ear to ear.
While I am not going to deep dive into the review of the film itself (for that, head to EoM senior critic Hunter Heilman’s theatrical release review), I will talk about it briefly. The movie focuses on Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) as she works in emergency psychiatric care at a hospital and has a new patient come in. This patient tells Rose that she sees an entity that possesses an evil smile and it haunts her. While with Rose, the patient can no longer take the haunting and kills herself, Rose witnessing her suicide. Rose starts to experience some psychotic episodes herself. As her partner Trevor (Jessie T Usher) is starting to lose his faith in her mental stability, Rose’s boss, Dr. Morgan Desai (Kal Penn), is trying to protect her, and ex-boyfriend/cop Joel (Kyle Gallner) is trying to help her figure out exactly what is going on. While all of this unfolds, the horrors truly creep up on the audience and provide some genuine scares with Sosie Bacon capturing the audience within this terrifying film.
While there was an initial mix up on our review copy of Smile for home viewing, I was able to check out the 4K HDR digital copy and, right out of the gate, it was clear that this presentation was miles better than what we experienced inside a movie theatre. Which, considering it was a 2022 release, the 4K version at home and the theatrical presentation shouldn’t look that wildly different, but the clarity and color grading on the home presentation was simply sublime. There are so many small little details I was able to notice for the first time watching this 4K HDR version that I missed in the theatre. Everything from extra veins presenting themselves on character faces when they’re confronted with the horrors to some creepy reveals in the third act looked clearer. Everything about this 4K presentation is stunning through and through and it highlights some moments that were missed in the initial theatrical viewing.
The only issue I have with the physical release, considering how expensive physical media has become (at least when it comes to 4Ks and some Blu-rays), is the lack of special features. While there are three features included, there are only two features outside of the mainstays. Smile does boast a full commentary track to the film with writer and director Parker Finn. It also includes Laura Doesn’t Sleep with commentary from Parker Finn. Laura Doesn’t Sleep is the original short that has been also added to YouTube, but this is a cleaner, sharper version of the short as well. Watching the short immediately before or after watching the feature adds to the viewing experience itself as there are some easter eggs that are placed in Smile from Laura Doesn’t Sleep. On top of these two features, there is also “Something’s Wrong with Rose: Making Smile,” a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Smile, “Flies on the Wall: Inside the Score,” and two deleted scenes with optional commentary.
Overall, Smile isn’t, per say, a day-one purchase, but if you are a fan of the film or of original horror, it is definitely one that is worthy of the shelf. There are plenty of scares, suspenseful moments, and an incredible leading performance from Sosie Bacon. Smile looks incredible in 4K HDR and boasts some special features that will certainly satisfy those who are looking for some behind the scenes insight or love commentaries.
Smile Special Features:
- Writer/Director commentary (1:55:00)
- Something’s Wrong With Rose: Making Smile (29:08)
- Flies on the Wall: Inside the Score (8:50)
- Laura Hasn’t Slept (11:22)
- Two (2) Deleted Scenes (11:40)
Available on digital November 15th, 2022.
Available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD December 13th, 2022.
For more information, head to the official Smile website.