Smile – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Smile

From the outset, I thought Smile was going to be stupid. The premise seemed like a lame gimmick in the same vein as The Meg or Us. Yet, the film is scary… Really, really scary. I haven’t been affected by a horror movie since Hereditary and, before that, The Ring. That’s it. That’s the list. With Smile, it’s difficult not to immerse yourself in this ominous world that Parker Finn created. 

For better or worse, Smile relies heavily on numerous horror tropes. Creepy music, visuals that play with your imagination, blood and gore, and jump scares—all create a sinister visceral experience. Some may be critical of Smile‘s reliance on these tropes, but they are done effectively and unpredictably. That’s the most insane element of the movie; as predictable as every aspect of the narrative is, it still scares the bejeezus out of you. Of course, the film is only compelling if you go into it as fresh as possible. The less you know, the better.

The technical aspect isn’t the only thing that Smile relies on. Trauma is a theme that horror films love to implement into their narrative. It’s a storyline that is both scary and tragic, with themes that run further than all of the jump scares. Sosie Bacon’s performance erodes every aspect of her expression and physicality. She conveys an intensity that blurs the line between sanity and insanity. It’s not an easy role to play, and Bacon knocks it out of the park from the get-go.

Overall, Smile is a gleefully bloody and delightful horror flick that delivers on the scares in spades. Parker Finn’s directorial debut is stellar, and Sosie Bacon supplies a terrifying performance. It’s uniquely haunting and downright disturbing and one of my favorite horror movies of the year. I can’t wait to watch it again.

Movie Rating: 4/5 atoms

Smile - Caitlin Stasey

Video

Smile hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 transfer and a 2.00:1 aspect ratio. Smile‘s Ultra HD video presentation won’t excite, but it’s faithful and still a solid presentation overall. Blacks are deep and natural, and the layers of detail in these areas are apparent. In the more lit scenes, plenty of shadows remain inky and dark. Despite the deep blacks in the picture, I found no crush in these areas.

Smile isn’t a consistently colorful film. However, the various hues that appear are vibrant and pleasing to the eye. It’s especially true for red, as the blood, neon lights, and fire glow nicely in HDR. Fine details certainly pick up with ease and, in doing so, let the film play with your head. Additionally, there is a filmic grain that stays consistent throughout.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Smile - Sosie Bacon

Audio

Smile hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a Dolby Atmos and a core 7.1 Dolby TrueHD Master Audio track. This review will reflect Smile‘s Dolby Atmos track. Smile‘s Atmos mix as it is a playful audio track that will surprise and engages when you least expect it. When the film gets aggressive, this mix brings all the terrifying scenes into your living room with incredible clarity. It accurately mimics the onscreen action as it travels around the soundstage. This one is a 360° fun house that plays into the jump scares and creepy ambient sound.

The height channels aren’t a primary element of the mix, but it does support it by making things feel more immersive. You get some whispers, jump scares, debris, and more to create a more immersive experience. At the same time, atmospheric effects blast from your side and rear speakers with purpose. Vocals are clear and crisp and can broadcast with massive spikes in volume and distortions when the scene calls for it.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Smile - Kyle Gallner and Sosie Bacon

Special Features

Smile‘s Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has the following special features on the disc:

  • Commentary by Director Parker Finn
  • Something’s Wrong with Rose: Making Smile
  • Flies on the Wall: Inside the Score
  • Deleted Scenes (with Optional Commentary by Director Parker Finn)
    • Panic Attack
    • You’re Going to Be Okay
  • Laura Hasn’t Slept – Original Short with Introduction by Director Parker Finn
Features Assessment

Director Parker Finn provides a very informative commentary track in which he discusses production stories and the making of the movie. Making Smile is a lengthy 29-minute featurette where the cast and crew discuss the film. The featurette covers numerous topics, including the original short film, directing a feature-length movie for the first time, the intensity of the lead performance, the underlying themes, and more. With Inside the Score, you’re essentially a fly on the wall as you watch composer Cristobal Tapia de Veer create the movie’s unexpected and anxiety-inducing score.

The deleted scenes feature Rose attending a work event for Trevor and where Rose has a deep interaction with Joel. Laura Hasn’t Slept is the original short film that inspired Smile. It’s unique in a way where you’ll recognize elements of Smile, but at the same time, feel like a different experience.

Special Features Rating: 3.5/5 atoms


Overall, Smile is a gleefully bloody and delightful horror flick that delivers on the scares in spades. The video and audio presentations are spectacular, and the bonus features are informative and entertaining.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Smile hits stores on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray on December 13th.

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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