When it comes to horror movies, nightmares are a common side effect. However, actual physical harm is rare. Going to the cinema shouldn’t end with a hospital visit, and that is why a certain scene from the 2022 monster movie Smile had to be changed.
Smile is one of the most successful horrors of 2022, having grossed over $216 million worldwide and scaring the pants off audiences and critics alike. Since hitting theatres in September 2022, the thriller movie has brought forward its physical release, which is filled with exciting extra content, such as commentary by the movie’s director Parker Finn.
In a segment of one of these mentioned extras, Finn revealed that his hit movie wasn’t originally fit for viewing at the start and that, in fact, one scene even had the potential to induce seizures. What is this scene, you ask? Well, it was the Smile title drop.
At the beginning of Smile, we learn that there is a monster that essentially jumps from victim to victim after taking over their bodies and killing its hosts. The movie’s protagonist, Laura, gets this curse after witnessing the death of a PhD student who had fallen victim to this nefarious entity too.
In the movie, the scene that was altered shows the camera move from the dead body to Laura’s pupil; the title then flashes on screen – 13 minutes into the film’s runtime.
“I personally love a delayed titled title drop in a film, and it felt like a perfect opportunity to pull one of these off,” Finn explains on the director’s commentary (via Bloody Disgusting). “I had always known I wanted to do something that was incredibly anxiety-inducing for the title drop.”
However, the scene had to be recalibrated several times after discovering the original version failed the Harding test. This essentially means that the initial sequence could trigger photosensitive people and potentially induce seizures.
But, even with the changes, Finn is “very pleased with the end result.” So, ultimately the end product was a win on both accounts.