‘SMILE’s marketing team deserves a raise

This might actually be…scary?

words by: Kayla Carmicheal
Oct 3, 2022

I can’t be alone in saying that sometimes, I think that horror movies have reached their extent of the ability to scare. As our sensitivity to horror grows stronger, the classic jump scares or slashes just aren’t going to do it anymore. (For example, Halloween is a classic, but while it scared our parents for days, we can make it through the whole movie while only jumping once).


And then this Smile movie started showing its hand. If you haven’t seen any YouTube videos or Hulu commercial breaks recently, let me tell you: If this movie isn’t absolutely horrifying, the marketing team certainly deserves a raise. Because I am sufficiently creeped out, and the movie just released.


If you’re still in the dark, and don’t know what I mean when I say “those creepy grinning people,” here’s a synopsis of the movie, and how its release is scaring the wits out of people. Or maybe just me and a select few, while others see the humor.


Rose Cotter is a doctor, and unfortunately she witnessed a really traumatic accident with a patient. After that, she starts going through some really creepy sh*t, and it’s nothing she can explain. It becomes overwhelming, and eventually, Rose figures out that she has to tackle her past to escape her new reality. So we’re definitely hitting at some psychological thriller notes here. We don’t know what the incident is, but we do know it has to do with people smiling maniacally. Seriously, I’ve never seen scarier cheesing in my life.


In the trailers, we can definitely see Rose get tormented by these scary happy people. In one, she visits someone in jail and he has a visceral reaction to her mentioning what she’s experiencing. This ignites some speculation — it’s clear Rose isn’t going crazy, or at least isn’t the only person who is being haunted by the grinners. And everything is upside down, which is even more creepy.



Along with the horrifying trailers, the film’s promoters decided to kick it up a notch, and during America’s favorite pastime. During recent baseball games, the camera cut to the audience, where a paid actor was sitting in the front row, smiling that creepy smile.



It’s kind of fun to see film marketing think outside of the box and try something meta like this. Obviously, the stunt is for social media attention, and it worked. And, unlike that Minions fiasco, this was planned by the studio, clever, and went off without a hitch.


Are you seeing Smile, or are you over horror movies and related gimmicks? Regardless, ’tis the season for fright nights, so why not get into the spirit? Here’s horror content recs to get you started.


Photo via Paramount