BEING told someone “died smiling” may provide comfort to friends and family of a loved one.
But in the world of horror movie Smile, it means the deceased killed themselves in an exceptionally gruesome way after appearing to lose their mind.
This brilliant frightfest follows a terrifying chain of events that plague Dr Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) after she witnesses the suicide of student Laura Weaver in an emergency psychiatric ward.
Before her death, the sleep-deprived and deeply paranoid PHD student yells: “I’m going to f***ing die and no one will listen to me.”
Laura believes a shape-shifting spirit with “the worst smile I’ve ever seen in my life” is coming for her.
Moments later, an eerie grin spreads across her face, her eyes lock with Dr Cotter’s and she slowly slits her throat with a broken flower pot shard.
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Prepare for unexpected scares, tense moments — and to be forever more freaked out by smiling strangers in the street.
Director Parker Finn cleverly builds tension with unnerving upside-down camera angles, chilling music and smiles hidden everywhere that hint at the terror to come.
Clever misdirects with a well-written script mean you won’t see the next jump coming.
Lead actress Sosie, the daughter of Hollywood A-lister Kevin Bacon, will have you transfixed with an engaging performance as she descends from confident to consumed with fear.
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You’ll be able to trust no one in this chilling horror as scenes aren’t always what they appear to be because the evil spirit can twist reality.
And the cast, including Caitlin Stasey and Robin Weigert, show great range as they transition between their characters and the demon’s distortion.
A predictable ending and unimpressive animation for the film’s evil entity are the only things to blight a near-perfect supernatural horror.
Apart from a few cheeky gags, don’t expect your terrified frown to be turned upside down at any point, either.
If anything, you’ll be hoping to see face masks make a return this winter to avoid being spooked by a stranger with a scary grin.
GIRLS GIRL GIRL
THIS fresh Finnish coming-of-age drama is a perfect portrayal of the bittersweet adolescent years on the edge of womanhood.
Angst-ridden Mimmi and her straight-talking best friend Ronkko have part-time jobs at a smoothie cafe.
While blending fruit drinks with daft names, they also discuss their intimate desires, frustrations, feelings and needs.
Asexual Ronkko wonders why she fails to get pleasure from carnal encounters.
While Mimmi’s tough exterior is cracking as she develops feelings for figure skater Emma.
Having focused obsessively on training her whole life, Emma now must balance her new desire for Mimmi with the sport that has defined her.
Candid and feisty, the trio’s performances impress as the action unfolds over three consecutive weekends.
From the sheer joy of driving to a party with friends, singing along to music and not knowing what the night will bring, to the painful humiliation of sexual encounters that don’t go as planned, it will make you yearn to be young again – while also probably being very glad that you aren’t.
MRS HARRIS GOES TO PARIS
(PG) 116 mins
HAVING spent years mopping up messes for the rich, rude and perpetually ungrateful, “marvellous” Mrs Ada Harris is certainly due some good luck.
The long-suffering London cleaner, who has been scrimping and saving since her husband Eddie didn’t return from WW2, has come into a large sum of money.
With her newfound fortune, Ada travels to Paris to buy a £500 Christian Dior dress – and the trip transforms her lowly life for good.
Prepare yourself for a series of surprising twists that see her change the future of a fashion house, play matchmaker and enjoy a romance of her own.
Lesley Manville takes the lead in this charming post-war Cinderella story and perfectly portrays the loveable and disarmingly sweet Mrs Harris.
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But the infuriatingly selfless character feels outdated and the film, based on a 1958 novel, relies on well-churned rags-to-riches moments from the likes of My Fair Lady or Pretty Woman.
Mrs Harris Goes To Paris is a feel-good flick that will leave you warm and fuzzy inside – until you’re greeted by honking cars and bustling commuters outside the cinema that remind you it’s not the 1950s.
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