The murderous grin lives on: the hit movie ‘Smile’ receives a chilling horror sequel

© Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures announced at CinemaCon in Las Vegas that an official sequel to the 2022 horror hit ‘Smile’ is in the works.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest surprises of 2022 in cinemas and a small sensation, the horror film ‘Smile – Do You See It Too?’ was originally intended as a streaming film for Paramount’s in-house service, Paramount+. However, after surprising both the audience and test screenings, the studio decided to release director Parker Finn’s film debut to cinemas worldwide. Produced for a modest USD 17 million, the risk paid off as the horror genre was experiencing a massive boost in popularity.

‘Smile’ brought in over $217 million at the box office, making it the most successful horror film of 2022 ahead of Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’. With the box office success, it was only a matter of time before Paramount greenlit a sequel. The first clue came from the exclusive first-look deal that filmmaker Finn signed with Paramount in early March this year, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. Paramount recently brought former DC boss Walter Hamada on board and commissioned him to oversee horror productions. With the success of ‘Scream VI’ ($168 million worldwide gross), the studio has big plans for the horror genre.

At the recent CinemaCon trade fair in Las Vegas, Paramount’s CEO Brian Robbins officially announced ‘Smile 2’ via Movieweb. However, no further information was given. Although ‘Smile’ received a 80 percent rating from critics and 77 percent from the audience on Rotten Tomatoes and is therefore in a relatively good position, this film divides the camp of horror fans like no other. Some love it, while others would have preferred to ask for a refund.

Admittedly, while the element of the unsettling grin seems quite original, the premise and staging of ‘Smile’ are altogether conventional. Director Finn relies on typical horror clichés to advance the plot, and some viewers may have wished for more imaginative storytelling.

What does director Parker Finn have planned for ‘Smile 2’?

Although there is no detailed information available about the next film, the finale of ‘Smile’ provided a hint of where the sequel can build on. Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) fails to break the curse placed on her at the end of the first film and, instead, sets herself on fire and burns alive in her abandoned childhood home while grinning in front of her ex-partner Joel (Kyle Gallner). The strange and terrifying creature’s purpose is not fully explained, but director Finn intentionally left it unexplored.

“I shot ‘Smile’ to be self-contained and tell its full story. I didn’t think in a million years that there would be such a huge demand for a sequel. But I think there are definitely things within the film that have been intentionally left unexplored that would be exciting to delve deeper into. And there are things that I couldn’t do on the first film, whether it was due to budget constraints or because they didn’t quite fit into the story, that would be really exciting.”

For fans of the first film, the sequel promises even more of the uncanny creature.

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