I'm Not Smiling
SIngli6 - wrote on 09/30/22
No, I'm not on board the yet-to-materialise-but-seemingly-inevitable hype around this movie. Not one bit. People gave Alex Garland's Men grief for being an elevated horror/trauma porn parody and here's this film with its significantly blander visuals, telegraphed scares, and a curse to thrives on trauma. Also, what inspired screenwriting to make your protagonist an emergency trauma psychologist who, familiar with the human mind and witness to more paranoid delusions than a QAnon forum, utilises none of that knowledge or expertise to do battle with the smirk demon. She knows exactly what people consider unhinged behaviour and how easily people's experiences are brushed away as delusions and she just swan dives into those behaviours with only a token 'I know I sound crazy, but...!' If you KNOW you SOUND crazy, either ACCEPT you are crazy, or FIND BETTER WAYS TO SOUND.
Seriously, there are at least three situations in this film where the main character has just enough proof that strange things are afoot to adroitly make her case, yet she falls so flat on her face she makes a cartoon sound instead. Why not just make her a baker, or an IT professional, or a banjo player? Anything that wouldn't make us expect this character would know a single bloody thing about the stigma of mental illness or the fragility of the mind in general.
I'll end with a note of the positives; solidly creepy score, good central performance, and scene stealing turn from Rob Morgan as a previous victim of the grin goblins. There's also one jump scare that did get me pretty good. Might have even given the whole thing two stars for general competency in craft if the painfully predictable ending didn't send me into a black mood come the credits.
Truth or Dare was better. Let that sink in.