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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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In your nightmares, it doesn’t help to ‘Smile’

Dan Webster

There’s a way of smiling that instills fear instead of joy in anyone who sees it. The effect has something to do with the eyes.

A Joker’s smile, with dead eyes, is one thing. The same smile with manic eyes is something else.

Either way, the trailers for the horror film “Smile” – which is scheduled to open wide on Friday – have left some of us with a choice to make: Do we really want to see something that feels so creepy?

Or do we avoid it and the requisite nightmares that are sure to follow?

Ah, well, I watched “Barbarian” and survived, so …. Anyway, “Smile,” which was written and directed by Parker Finn and stars Sosie Bacon (the daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick), is receiving better-than-average reviews.

Marisa Mirabel of IndieWire wrote, “ ‘Smile’ navigates unhealed trauma through a supernatural lens and mischievous juxtaposition, despite feeling like a shadow of other stories.”

Rocco T. Thompson of Slant Magazine wrote, “Everything ‘Smile’ is doing is familiar enough at this point to be considered old-fangled, but the striking precision of its craft sloughs away any sensations of déjà vu.”

Yet, then, Katie Rife of RogerEbeert.com wrote, “In padding out the concept from an 11-minute short into a nearly two-hour movie, ‘Smile’ leans too heavily not only on formulaic mystery plotting, but also on horror themes and imagery lifted from popular hits like ‘The Ring’ and ‘It Follows.’ ”

The final vote, of course, belongs to you.

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