The horror movie Smile, from Parker Finn, shocked even the most dedicated adrenaline junkies when it hit theatres earlier this year with its shocking scares. The thriller movie follows Doctor Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) as she’s tormented by a menacing smiling monster spirit only she can see.
Does the good doctor survive her encounter with the supernatural? Well, we can’t tell you that! But trust us when we say Smile is one of the scariest films we saw in 2022. To celebrate Smile’s release on Video on Demand, we spoke to Kyle Gallner, who plays Joel Rose’s ex-boyfriend in the monster movie about his experience making the film.
The Digital Fix: are you a big fan of horror, Kyle?
Kyle Gallner: Yeah, I am a horror movie fan, actually.
TDF: Is that what made you take the Smile job?
KG: It’s one of those things where I don’t necessarily know if being a fan was that drew drove me to it. As much as you know, as an actor, you want to do interesting things or things that you’re attracted to.
It is fun to make a horror movie because I’m a horror movie fan. I think a big part of it, though, was the script. I thought the script was really, really good and something really fun and interesting. Also, I liked Parker [Finn] as a director and was excited to get on the project.
TDF: Do you remember what your reaction was when you read what happened to Joel towards the end of Smile?
KG: Yeah. Honestly, that was the thing that sealed the deal. Like, I really, really liked the script. But there’s always part of you that’s like, ‘is this going to wrap up with a nice little bow?’ and everybody walks away. But when I read the ending, I was like, ‘Ooh, that’s mean, that’s cool.’
[Parker Finn] doesn’t sugarcoat anything, and the ending sticks to the theme of the movie. It sticks to sort of the brutality of the movie. And I really appreciated not only Parker having written that, but the studio also having the guts to end the film like that.
TDF: Smile’s been incredibly popular despite being one of the scariest films of the year. Why do you think people have flocked to see it?
KG: You just don’t know what’s going to work. Do you know what I mean? Like, you don’t know what’s going to hit. You don’t know what people will be attracted to? I mean, I think I think the movie speaks for itself. I think it’s enjoyable. I think it has enough in there for casual horror fans and hardcore horror fans.
But I gotta give it up to the marketing department. They did a really, really, really nice job. I think the marketers got enough intrigue going to get people asking, ‘what the hell is this?’ And then they went, and we’re like, ‘oh, this is good’. Then, all of a sudden, word of mouth took off, and it was sort of this perfect storm.
TDF: Those smiling people at the baseball game were terrifying…
KG: Yes! I hope whoever came up with that got a raise.
TDF: Let’s drill into Joel a little bit. I think it’s I think it’s ambiguous in the film whether he believes what’s going on a supernatural or not. Did you play him as he believes that this is a monster?
KG: I don’t necessarily know if he believed it was a monster. Jessie T. Usher’s character Trevor, Rose’s fiancé, he comes from a very different place, right? He’s looking at what’s happening, and he’s like, ‘there’s no way this is real’.
I think Joel comes from a place of like, ‘look, I don’t know if this is real. I don’t know if it’s fake. All I know is you’ve got a problem. And I’m here to help you out whatever this is,’ and he’s willing to believe her. I don’t know if he’s totally swallowed the pill of the curse, but clearly, he knows something’s wrong.
TDF: What do you think happens to Joel next?
KG: Man, I don’t know a sequel?
TDF: So you’d come back?
KG: Absolutely. I would totally come back when it’s. I think there’s a lot to explore in this world. I think it would be a lot of fun.
Smile is available to Download & Keep on December 14 and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, and DVD December 26.