parker finn smile

To celebrate the digital release of Smile we caught up with its writer/director Parker Finn to dig into its escalating nightmare approach and its unsettling tone, and for those that have seen it, we discuss the creative process of a rather scary family gathering! Smile is now one of the biggest horror movies of 2022…

STARBURST: You described this movie as an escalating nightmare, which does feel like. What was it like to capture that gradual progression from normal Rose to paranoid Rose? How did you achieve that? 

Parker Finn: You know it’s always a complicated set of logistics when you’re in production because you’re shooting everything out of order, and you’re trying to maintain that north star of what you’re hoping the film will be. But it was a lot of prep work in talking with the team around me and then just being in constant conversation with Sosie [Bacon] about how we were crafting the performance. We really wanted to track that character as she’s on this downward spiral and make sure that the audience was right there inside of all of that anxiety.

We also like that with Smile, you don’t feel safe in daylight scenes. Normally that’s a safe time in a horror movie, but with Smile, you’re constantly on edge. Was it intentional to make the audience feel this way from start to finish? And what does that bring to Smile

Yeah that was definitely intentional, I think that I love a scare during the daytime, or a sense of anxiety, however, like I said, we wanted to make sure that from the opening moments of the film would reach in, grab your spine and drag you forward unwillingly, all the way until the end.



Talking of not feeling safe. The cinematography and angled camera shots help a lot with that. How fun were those particular shots to work on with cinematographer Charlie Sarroff and when did you initially decide to bring those ideas in? 

They were a lot of fun to work on, we worked very hard to craft a specific visual language for the film. It required a lot of prep work when it came to how we were going to capture things. A whole lot of shot listing, and refining that over and over again, so we had a real plan going into production, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the result.

There’s a great scene where Sosie Bacon’s character Rose is at a family birthday party, and it doesn’t go very well. How fun was that particular scene to put together, and how did you go about capturing that paranoid feeling?

That scene was a lot of fun, it was also an incredible challenge, working with a bunch of child actors, and tons of extras. Sosie has got to do something so incredibly difficult, in the middle of that scene, with all that stuff going on around her. I have to tip my hat to her because she just really brought it with that performance – throughout the whole film as well – but that scene, in particular, it’s just next level, and I hope that audiences react to it in the way we intended.

The best horrors are the ones that don’t give away all of their secrets straight away, and you’ve done that with Smile. How do you go about creating that fine line, of giving the audience those breadcrumbs along the way, whilst not giving away too much? 

Yeah, I love films that have a sense of mystery to them, like peeling back the layers and discovering what the movie actually is. Those always work really well for me as a fan, and that’s what I was hoping to do as a filmmaker. I really think that it’s part of the theme within the film, it’s what it is to be afraid of the unknown, that’s a very universal fear, and I wanted to capture that both in the plot elements, but also in the thematic elements as well. Just seeing if I could weave those things together in the character journey.

Finally, how do you want the viewer to feel after watching this movie? 

I hope that they are left smiling after the movie finishes!

SMILE is available to Download and Keep on December 14th and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™, and DVD on December 26th.