The ‘Smile’ directorial is his less and more lore approach and a potential sequel

No doubt Paramount is laughing smile. The year has seen a lot of success for the studio scream, Sonic the Hedgehog 2And Monster Blockbuster Top gun: Maverick, smile – Focusing on psychiatrist Dr. Rose Cotter (Socie BaconShe saw a strangely smiling patient (Caitlin Stacey) is suicidal, then realizes she’s part of a curse that causes her to take her own life within a week – another highlight. This is true of any movie that has grossed more than $200 million worldwide with a budget of less than $20 million, but this one is especially noteworthy. smile Originally produced with the intention of releasing directly to streaming on Paramount+.

Instead, an overwhelmingly positive reaction at a test screening led the studio to rethink their approach and release it. smile In theaters, it was a huge hit—and had unusually strong legs for a horror film. truly, smile Even when it arrived last week on both digital and Paramount+ — with a 4K Ultra HD release coming in December along with Blu-ray and DVD — it was still in the top five at the US box office. .

Phantom spoke smile Writer/director Parker Finn delves into spoilers about the film’s unusual path to box office success, his decision to withhold revealing too many details behind the curse at the center of a film, a potential sequel, and more. End of the movie (don’t worry, we’ll warn you when that part comes up).

Test screening
It changed everything

Socie Bacon, left, and Jesse D. Usher on ‘Smile’

Over the past couple of years, many films have been made with the intention of either bypassing theaters altogether or getting a theatrical and streaming release instead of getting a simultaneous theatrical and streaming release. smile Very rarely, Parker Finn had told his movie based on his own 2020 short film from the beginning. Laura didn’t sleep – Made for streaming.

It only reflects what it feels like smile Instead, it was originally released in theaters, but was such a success in its run, Finn told Fandom, “It was nothing short of incredible and surreal, if I’m being honest. I was absolutely grateful for the opportunity to make the film. Paramount had faith in me and made me a first-time filmmaker. The view was amazing enough to allow something to be done.

When the decision came smile In theaters, Finn recalls, “After that first test screening, when the studio started looking at the film through a different lens, the response we got from those early audiences was incredibly enthusiastic. They brought us in and wanted to go into wide release in theaters, and behind it a It was one of those moments that pinched me when he told us he wanted to do a full marketing campaign. The reason I wanted to make films was because of the theatrical experience and seeing the audience connect. [with] And adapting the film was the most satisfying part of the whole process for me.

A Lasting Smile

Robin Wiegert in ‘Smile’

Of course, the question arises as to why smile Become more successful? What specifically happened to this film — even in a year when horror in general has been doing well — that allowed it to hold up at the box office the way it did?

Finn said, “It’s hard for me to engage with things that people seem to associate so much with film. At least, what I’ve heard is that the movie scares people, and it seems to have a real effect, and they seem to tell everyone around them. I think word of mouth, of course, helped grow legs in the theater. But for me, as a fan of horror films, I can’t be scared or connect with a horror film unless I’m deeply invested in the main character. I think people really connected with Rose’s character and her journey. And with the more grueling horror scenes in the film, I think that combination will be very effective for the audience.

As theaters seek to bring back crowds in 2020 after Covid-19 boosted business, horror has once again proven to be a reliable genre, leading to several recent successes, especially when it comes to low-budget films, which often struggle. Find an audience these days. Finn said, “Audiences are incredibly savvy and horror is a place where you can surprise them even more. There’s this wonderful balance of familiarity and expectation, and then improvising what I’m so attracted to in horror. The film is designed to be a love letter to the Cursed franchise, but one that no one has ever seen before. I think there’s always a place for thoughtful filmmaking, and horror is a great place to explore the human condition, looking at all the things that scare us as a society as a whole.

Keeping Secrets… Until Part 2?

Director Parker Finn, left, and Sosie Bacon on the set of ‘Smile’

as smile Moving forward, the main character, Rose, and her ex-boyfriend, police officer Joel (Kyle Gallner) discover that the curse she received goes several ways, and they discover a disturbing pattern in which they witness a death and then die themselves within a week. However, beyond that general information — and the scattered details about some of these recent deaths — little is revealed about the cause of the curse or how long it has been going on.

Finn said he always felt it smile The backstory worked better without being all set up, “There are a lot of corners of the film that I don’t want to shine a light on. I think the unknown is always scarier. Instead of pointing to a book some monk read in the 1400s or something like that, the whole thing is a bad cosmic joke.” To be able to feel it, it was very exciting and terrifying for me. . . .

Finn added with a smile of his own, “Having said all that, I have a lot of thoughts and theories about the elusive nature of what happened. smile It really excites me. But I like the idea of ​​the audience having some kind of conversation and discussing some things about it.

Of course it looks like Finn will explore some of those thoughts and theories if he wants to, since Paramount has yet to officially announce anything. smileAll wins are guaranteed unless the studio wants a sequel. When pondering what the follow-up might be, Finn said, “There are a lot of things, a lot of stones left unturned, often on purpose. Not for any continuing ideas, but just for the purposes of the story. But there are things I wish I had done in the first place, and sometimes I think it would be more exciting to do them. As exciting as the world smile I mean, I want to make sure that I’m not repeating what I’ve done or retreading the same ground and that I’m going to do more in the world. smile We can come from a very unexpected, interesting angle and create some brand new tricks for the audience that maybe they don’t see coming.

About that decision…

Sosie Bacon in ‘Smile’

Note: Major spoilers lead to the end of this last section smile.

As Finn mentioned, an integral element smile Its main character is Rose and a fantastic performance Socie Bacon Oh-so quickly gives into being a woman who unravels her whole life. Ultimately, it’s a life she can’t save, as the film ends on a decidedly dark note, with Rose succumbing to the curse and killing herself, sending the curse to Joel, who is powerless to stop him.

Of his lead character’s grim fate, Finn said, “I knew early on that I was interested in taking this story to its worst logical conclusion.” However, before she dies, Rose (and the audience) sheds light on the trauma that has sat on her for most of her life, revealing details about her troubled mother, who allowed the young, highly traumatized Rose to overdose without calling anyone. for help.

“Deeply creepy visuals and a unique Sosie Bacon heighten ‘Smile’s traumatic exploration, adding up to a rare feature that unfolds satisfyingly.” – Dilliubi laughs On Fandom Horror Movie Wiki

Regarding Rose’s fate, Finn noted, “What’s really important to me is that after this kind of gut-wrenching, emotional journey, we get some more emotional catharsis with Rose. I thought the character earned it, the audience earned it, the plot earned it. But then, I think sometimes there are these malevolent, unstoppable forces of nature that have a certain sense of inevitability, and sometimes they creep back. It felt like the right thing to do, which says more about me than anything else. I went with my instincts on it.

In its final act, smile Rose’s visions of her curse-induced mother go big in a more literal way, as she goes through a metamorphosis into a giant, bent, and hulking version of the woman referred to in the film’s special features as “Nightmare Mom.” And that’s before we see the second, even scarier version creature (called “Monstrosity Mom” ​​offscreen), he literally climbs into Rose’s pulled open mouth.

It’s a big swing for filmmaking, and Finn noted, “We talked about it a lot — we wanted to keep a lot of restraint when we were making the movie, and let people come out very curious and nervous about what’s going on. But eventually at a certain point, we wanted to blow it up into a full-on horror movie. I knew I wanted to. I love monsters and I love practical effects. I always knew I wanted to do this thing at the end, but I didn’t want people to believe it was happening at the end of this film. I love those kinds of tough places that film takes.”

smile Available for digital purchase now and on Paramount+ and available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on December 13th.

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