Here on The A.V. Club’s trailer beat, we tend to see a lot of snippets of horror movies that are doing their damnedest to freak us out. Nursery rhymes slowed down, abrupt jump cuts, demon faces: You get kind of inured to it all after a while.
So it feels significant that the new trailer for Paramount’s upcoming horror flick Smile managed to get a genuine “Oh god!” out of us today, right near the end of its two-plus-minute run time. We won’t spoil it here (and your mileage may, of course, vary), but suffice it to say: Jesus!
Smile itself looks to be built from some fairly recognizable parts; the first film from director Parker Finn (based on his own short film), it casts Sosie Bacon as a doctor whose bloody experience with a now-dead patient leads her to begin seeing something deeply malevolent that keeps following her around. The result is something that reads a bit like The Ring meets It Follows, as Bacon becomes increasingly haunted by those big, leering smiles, and the specter of violence increasingly blooms.
Smile, based on Finn’s Laura Hasn’t Slept, is currently aiming at a September 2022 release, i.e. just as the Spooky Season will be thoroughly upon us. In addition to Bacon (who you might best know from Mare Of Easttown and 13 Reasons Why), the film stars Jessie T. Usher, Kal Penn, and Rob Morgan. Penn’s mostly in “disbelieving normie” mode, but Morgan looks like he gets to truly lose his shit as the only other guy who’s been exposed to the “Smile” creature and lived to tell the tale.
Laura Hasn’t Slept had its debut at SXSW a few years back; you can see a teaser for the short (which is decidedly on the minimal side) over on Finn’s Vimeo page. The short starred Caitlin Stassey and Lew Temple as its patient-doctor pairing.