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INTERVIEW: ‘Smile’ Director Parker Finn Told Us the Most Exciting Part of the Audience Reaction

the patient in Smile

Smile is a movie that has stalked so many of us throughout our moviegoing experience. If you didn’t see it while in theaters, you sure enough saw that trailer over and over again that left you terrified each time. Following the story of Rose (Sosie Bacon) and the moving threat of death that seems to have passed on to her after a traumatic experience, the film shows just how large fear and death loom over us.

From writer and director Parker Finn, the movie is described as follows: “After witnessing a bizarre, traumatic incident involving a patient, Dr. Rose Cotter starts experiencing frightening occurrences that she can’t explain. As an overwhelming terror begins taking over her life, Rose must confront her troubling past in order to survive and escape her horrifying new reality.”

We spoke to Finn himself in preparation for the release of the film on digital and on streaming! And it was a lovely conversation about inspirations, horror movies, and that TikTok that made me realize that Sosie Bacon is the daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. In talking with Finn, I asked him about the reception of Smile and what has been the most exciting part.

“It’s been really surreal,” Finn said. “I think as a filmmaker you spent a very long time just like screaming into the void, desperate for anybody to turn and even glance in your direction. And then, to suddenly have made a movie that audiences seem to have embraced in the way that they have with Smile is nothing short of incredible. It’s been the most satisfying part of the whole journey, hearing from people who really, really connected with it.”

As we got into our conversation, I made a note that the movies he talked about as influences for Smile all had female leads and that it is clear he drew on that while writing and making the movie. And with a lead like Sosie Bacon, it isn’t surprising that the movie works in the way that it does. So I asked what inspired him to focus more on the psychological versus the “man with the ax” kind of horror with a film like Smile.

“For me, it doesn’t matter what’s going bump in the night in a horror film. A horror film can’t scare me unless I’m deeply, deeply, deeply invested in the main character and the character’s plight, journey, and all of that,” he said. “I think that the best horror films, in my opinion, are ones that use horror as a way to sort of explore the human condition and the psychology and the psychological nature of that is totally part of that.”

You can see our full interview here:

Smile is now available on Digital HD and streaming on Paramount+.

(featured image: Paramount Pictures)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.