They say “Smile at the world, and the world smiles back at you.” But you wouldn’t want that in this film…
The life of Dr. Cotter, a therapist, turned upside down after a patient smiled at her before killing herself right in front of the doctor’s very eyes. That same smile would later haunt Dr. Cotter, and simultaneously puts her in danger with every passing day.
Based on the novel Laura Hasn’t Slept by Parker Finn, this story was adapted (successfully, I might add) into a film by Finn himself. The oppressive feeling of dread and terror is effective with tight shots and close-ups, and the jumpscares are tastefully done without relying on shock value.
Led by actress Sosie Bacon – the daughter of renowned actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick – as Dr. Cotter, she portrays the role of a severely traumatised individual in such a way that you could feel the burden on her shoulders and watch as she unravels into insanity…or does she? Kyle Gallner (with more than a few horror films under his belt such as Jennifer’s Body, The Haunting in Connecticut, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) is present as Joel, who works closely with Dr. Cotter as she tries to understand exactly what she is dealing with.
This film is reminiscent of other cult favourites such as The Ring and It Follows, where a curse is passed from victim to victim, and simultaneously hides behind metaphors. In this particular case, it drives home two facts: one; that trauma wears many faces and can (quite literally) consume anyone and two; suicide has a domino effect that will leave a lasting impression on those you leave behind.
Now cheer up and give us a smile, why don’t you? 🙂
*Cover image via Paramount Pictures