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8 Movies Like Smile You Must See

November 27, 2022

Paramount Pictures’ psychological horror film Smile, directed by Parker Finn, is about psychiatrist Dr. Rose Cotter. In one of her sessions, a patient begins acting strangely and kills herself while smiling at Rose. Traumatized by this, the psychiatrist begins to hallucinate, and everywhere she goes she sees people smiling at her in the same eerie way. She soon realizes that other people have had similar experiences and killed themselves. So Rose sets out to find the thread that binds them all together in order to save herself.

Smile is an intriguing film in the genre as it uses classic age-old tropes around an innovative premise. The film is packed with scares, strange occurrences and smiles that make you shudder. Additionally, the story revolves around mental health, trauma, and grief, humanizing the characters and narrative. If such facets of a story fascinate you, we have compiled a list of films for you. You can watch some of the below movies like Smile on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

8th Matriarch (2022)

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‘Matriarch’ is a horror film that blends supernatural and psychological genres. The story is about Laura, a lonely woman who overdoses and almost dies. She later returns to her home village to see Celia, her mother, again, but she discovers something dark and sinister. Matriarch and Smile share some significant similarities. Both films deal with themes of trauma, mother-daughter relationships and grief. Both Laura and Rose seem to have a problem with their mothers. It becomes an important part of their psyche, which is shaped over the years and even after they have grown up, the pain, sadness and fear are buried deep within them. These layers highlight the story and arouse the curiosity of the audience.

7. Mother! (2017)

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Directed by Darren Aronofsky, ‘mother!’ a psychological horror film centered on the mother (Jennifer Lawrence). Mom and he (Javier Bardem) live together in a rustic house in the country. When a few guests come to the house, Mother begins to feel uneasy and things take a dark turn. Mother! and Smile are metaphorical stories in which the core message has a deeper meaning.

Smile gives metaphysical form to grief and emotional suffering, while the story of mother! depicts the suffering of Mother Earth. The latter film is more complex and interspersed with Christian symbols. These aspects give the narrative far more depth than a traditional horror film and make the viewer think.

6. The Others (2001)

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The horror film The Others is about Grace (Nicole Kidman) and her two children who live in a completely dark house. Since Grace’s children are sensitive to light, she closes all windows and doors with curtains to ensure that no light enters her house. Shortly after the end of World War II, Grace is waiting for her husband to return, but she suspects that ghosts may be in the house. Grace’s development in The Others is similar to Rose’s in Smile.

In both films, the women try to see the connections in order to understand what is happening. The viewer is with them on this journey and sees everything from their perspective. Another interesting aspect of both characters is how they suppress certain aspects of their lives because they cause them so much pain. However, when they engage with it, things eventually make sense to the viewer and the result leaves the viewer satisfied.

5. Sinister (2012)

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‘Sinister’ is a supernatural horror film about Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) and his family. When busy crime writer Ellison moves into a new house with his family, he finds a strange box in the attic. It contains films of different people who have been murdered in horrific ways. As he watches these videos for his novels, Ellison realizes there is more to these videos and his family may be in danger.

Although Sinister has a very different storyline than Smile, the tropes feel familiar. In both films, the so-called paranormal activity becomes increasingly sinister. The way Ellison spirals is analogous to what happens to Rose throughout the story. Additionally, both films are packed with the traditional tropes of the genre while keeping the audience engaged.

4. It Follows (2014)

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‘It Follows’ is a critically acclaimed supernatural psychological thriller. After having intercourse with her boyfriend Hugh, Jay realizes that she is now cursed with a supernatural being. She soon finds out that the essence passes from one person to another through sexual intercourse. To save herself from death, she must sleep with someone else. Like Smile, It Follows depicts a real-world subject in a paranormal form. Thus, the way the supernatural being finds its victims directly reflects the real problem. These facets make the story more tangible and tie something otherworldly to reality.

3. The Babadook (2014)

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‘The Babadook’ is a supernatural thriller about a mother Amelia who reads a scary story to her child Sam called ‘Mister Babadook’. But Sam experiences inexplicable things and fears that the Babadook from the story has now come to life in reality. So it’s up to Amelia to help her son face his fears and get rid of them.

Although The Babdook and Smile differ in their aesthetics and storytelling, they are similar on a conceptual level. In both films, the supernatural beings represent a trauma buried deep within the human being. Amelia and Rose both try to deal with this aspect, but the way their storylines play out is very different. So, despite the similarities in concept, both films offer the audience different perspectives on the same topic.

2. Hereditary (2018)

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Hereditary is one of the best horror movies we’ve seen in recent years. The film begins with the funeral of Annie’s mother, which was an important part of her life. As the family mourns, unusual occurrences begin to occur in the home, sending Annie spiraling down a sinister path. Hereditary is also an unusual look at mental health, but takes a very different tack in presenting the topic.

There are a few similarities between the mother-daughter relationship in Hereditary and Smile. In both cases, the daughters are marked by traumatic experiences with their mother. The way Annie begins to question what’s real and what’s not reminds us of Rose. Both films have multiple layers of meaning that make you ponder after the film ends.

1. The Ring (2002)

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‘The Ring’ is one of the scariest and most popular horror movies of the last two decades. When Rachel stumbles across a videotape, she plays it and sees a disturbing video that is merely a montage of clips. Several eerie images send goosebumps down her spine and won’t let her go even after the short video ends. She soon finds out that anyone who looks at the footage dies within a week. In order to save herself, Rachel must try to figure out the meaning behind the video and save herself from death.

The basic premise that Smile begins with is similar to The Ring. On one side, Rose sees a patient dying, on the other, Rachel sees a videotape. Rose and Rachel realize they only have a week to save themselves from what appears to be a curse. The two characters search for answers and learn crucial details about the patient and the video. In addition, both are afflicted with a certain ambiguity that captivates the viewer until the end.