Per Matt
The unexplained should not always be scary; but quite often, it is. Irrational fears can grow after experiencing something new, unexpected and unknown. But when all of these elements fit together nicely in a film, you’ve got yourself a very good horror movie. And after watching a screening of Smile, an evil grin crept onto my face. With Halloween right around the corner, it seems a great new franchise is born, and I cannot wait to see what spawns from it.

I watch a lot of Paranormal Caught on Camera. As if I needed the affirmation, I like to be reminded that there’s a lot of weird things going on out there. I mean, A LOT. While I’ve witnessed a few strange things in my time, I’ve come to the conclusion that there has to be a greater presence somewhere in our universe that often gives humanity an unusual number of eye rolls.

I do not doubt that they are out there, somewhere, representing the forces of good and bad, as their presence can be seen on a daily basis in our lives. The proof is out there. But what if their existence was constantly confirmed… but only to a select few. Would the nonbelievers be convinced without seeing this with their own two eyes?

Smile begins with the overworked Dr. Rose Cotter (played by Sosie Bacon). After witnessing the death of her patient, she slowly realizes a new darkness has entered her life. As this unknown evil grows stronger, she loses even more sleep, unable to decipher between a deception and reality. This supernatural presence is a killer, exposing the fine line between mental-health stability and the psychological trauma, terror and horror that festers beneath the surface of our everyday lives. But it only seems to expose itself to those who are seemingly unbalanced.

“You can’t escape your own mind!”

While this unnamed entity has an unknown history, its purpose forces Rose to face the childhood demons of her past. While picking open old wounds, she begins to solve this unsettling mystery.

Bacon is quite convincing as our story’s tortured heroine. I was pleasantly surprised with her on-screen presence, since I don’t recall seeing any of her previous projects. Smile‘s terrific editing needs to be commended as well, which leads to some pretty good jump scares. Now, I’m all about bringing an unidentified darkness — possibly demonic — into a rational world, watching how our characters react differently to a variety of circumstances. While the storyline has similarities with It Follows and The Ring, those films definitely don’t have a monopoly on the supernatural horror genre, which I truly enjoy.

With a reported budget of only $17 million, I foresee this film pretty quickly getting into the black for Paramount Pictures following the filmmaking blueprints of Jason Blum, who’s made a career out of turning small films into pop-culture phenomena. And since there can never be too many scary movies released in October, in just two weeks Blumhouse Productions will premiere Halloween Ends.

That means the spooky season should be a really fun one for fans of scary movies. I’m guessing this grin on my face will probably last for the next 30 days, at the very least.