The Smile Demon’s True Form Is A Lesson For Other Horror Movies

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The Smile Demon’s True Form Is A Lesson For Other Horror Movies

Parker Finn’s 2022 debut Smile is one of the most talked about horror movies from the past few years. Based on Finn’s short film Laura Hasn’t Slept, Smile follows therapist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) who is still grieving the trauma of her mother’s death. As Rose’s life is taken over by a creepy curse and she can’t stop seeing people with terrible grins plastered on their faces, she realizes that she is at the mercy of something that she can’t easily explain.


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Smile grossed over $217 million at the box office and scared people before it even hit theaters, thanks to a smart marketing campaign that featured strangers smiling in eerie ways at baseball games. The Smile demon’s true form is impressive and effective and could inspire other horror filmmakers.

RELATED: Smile Viral Marketing Places Creepy Actors At A Baseball Game


The Smile Demon’s True Form Is Terrifying

The Smile demon’s true form is the stuff that nightmares are made of. When Rose finally sees it at the end of the movie, she is stunned into silence. The entity in Smile is able to shapeshift and become any person that it wants to. This is why, throughout the movie, Rose keeps seeing different people with creepy, horrifying grins on their faces.

Since there are so many scary smiles in horror movies, the Smile demon’s true form is effective. Before it kills someone, the demon finds someone who has experienced trauma and quickly takes over their life. Just like the entity in the popular horror movie It Follows begins stalking its victims, the Smile demon is a curse that is passed around. Rose can’t stop herself from seeing strangers and loved ones alike with horrible smiles, no matter where she goes or what she does. It becomes harder and harder for her to cope with it, which is of course the point. The movie makes the intelligent and perceptive point that trauma can’t be escaped unless someone is able to process and heal from it.

In an interview with Variety, Sosie Bacon shared why she believes that smiles work so well in the horror genre. She said, “It’s a facial expression that we’re constantly faced with and it’s supposed to be a happy one. It’s a pretty iconic image to have a mock, deranged smile. If we were not perceiving reality as value, you might switch a smile to something scary.”

The Smile Demon’s True Form Can Inspire Other Modern Monster Designs

Rose Cotter lying on the floor at the end of Smile

There have been many great modern monster movies in the horror and sci-fi genre, including the many versions of The Invisible Man, and the Smile demon fits in that category as well. Other filmmakers can be inspired by the Smile demon’s true form and create a similarly horrifying creature that will stick with audiences forever.

Why does the Smile demon work so well? When compared to other terrifying horror movie demons, the Smile demon remains mysterious throughout much of the movie. It’s only at the end, when Rose is confronted by the demon at her mother’s house, that she sees the Smile demon’s true form.

The big reveal works just as well as it’s meant to. Rose and the audience are equally shocked and afraid. At this moment, audiences learn how the Smile demon possesses people: by entering their mouths and taking over their bodies and minds for good. Other horror movies should take this to heart. While it’s good to have horror villains with complicated backstories, it’s also smart to share all the necessary information and details near the end of the movie. This keeps some mystery throughout the story but ensures that horror fans will be satisfied at the end and feel like they have gotten all the answers.

Will The Smile Demon’s True Form Be Seen Again?

Sosie Bacon as Dr. Rose Cotter in Smile

There will be a sequel to Smile, and that means it’s possible that horror fans will see the Smile demon’s true form in the second film. The ending of Smile might not leave room for a direct sequel since Rose’s story has concluded. But there is still a lot that can be done with the Smile demon’s true form.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Parker Finn made a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures in March 2023. In April 2023, Paramount Pictures shared at CinemaCon that there would be a Smile sequel. Whether the Smile sequel follows surviving characters from the first movie or tells a brand-new tale with fresh characters, it’s clear that the demon will be back. The Smile entity is so unnerving and memorable that it would be possible to create an entire horror franchise based on them.

There are no story details just yet. But, given Smile‘s successful opening weekend and its high box office gross throughout its entire run, the sequel is sure to be a hit as well.

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