When I first saw the trailer for SMILE, I had some very strong doubts about it and told myself to wait until it was streaming somewhere to watch it. With a full-time day job and a new puppy at home, it takes extra effort to leave the house, spend $20 on a ticket, and another $20 on concessions. As everyone reading this probably knows, SMILE was an instant success, generating positive word of mouth which translated to huge box office receipts.
After a couple of weeks, the hype had not died down and it convinced me to leave the house in the middle of the week. I was able to watch 45 minutes of it before I left, not because the movie is bad (which it isn’t), but because of the group of children running up and down the theater stairs. It wasn’t just running. They also were pointing and laughing at the patients on screen every time they smiled. I couldn’t take it anymore as I take first-time viewings to heart as they can never be taken back. The worst part is that this R-rated movie was actually scary. However, $40 is steep to not be able to sit in silence and enjoy a film.
Praise the home video gods because SMILE was announced on physical media including a 4K set so I can utilize my 4K TV as well as my Dolby Atmos setup. This was my chance to re-experience a movie for the first time.
Sosie Bacon plays Rose Cotter, a psychiatrist who witnesses one of her patients kill herself in a gruesome manner. This is after the patient claims an evil entity is following her disguised as a human. This is shrugged off as the result of trauma as she had just witnessed her professor’s suicide. Sosie is shook and begins to have visions of people giving her sinister-looking smiles. Is Sosie having a mental breakdown stemming from a traumatic event in her past or is there a supernatural being feeding off these suicides?
SMILE utilizes sound heavily to create an anxiety-driven atmosphere and the Dolby Atmos here amplifies that. Much of the suspense leans on its sequences of awkward silence, making those jump scares really boom. Visually, the 4K disc is crisp and clear, with lots of vibrant bloody moments that show off what physical media can do.
Even more pleasing is that there’s a decent amount of special features including a half-hour making-of documentary that delves into the practical special effects and explores touchy themes in horror. Fans of the score will need to watch “Flies On The Wall: Inside The Score.” Director Parker Finn is featured on the commentary tracks for the deleted scenes and the feature itself. To top it off, the biggest surprise for me is the inclusion of Laura Hasn’t Slept which is the short film SMILE is based on. Personally, I was never aware of a short film so this was a nice addition. It’s actually very effective and delivers in a quick 11 minutes.
SMILE has been a surprise box office hit this year and for good reason: it’s scary, dares one to think, and now has a top-notch 4K home video release.
SMILE is now available on Digital, and will be available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, and DVD starting tomorrow, December 13th.