Smile review – Predictable horror still provides the screams

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But, while being grimmer than the British economy, it does summon up some very macabre thrills.

After the briefest of introductions, we follow exhausted therapist Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) into a meeting room at a psychiatric hospital. A traumatised young student is crouching in the corner.

“I’m not crazy,” she tells Rose, before relating how she has been stalked by a malevolent entity ever since she witnessed her professor’s suicide. The creature, she says, appears in the guise of people she knows and has a blood-curdling grin. Then she smashes a flower pot, busts out a sinister smirk and slashes her own throat.

If you have seen The Ring or It Follows, you can probably guess where this heading. The curse will be passed on and a succession of loud noises and rapid edits will keep pulling us out of our seats.

But seeing when the roller-coaster is about to plunge does not stop anyone screaming.

Writer-director Parker Finn uses his plot’s predictability to build tension and work away at our nerves. It is a familiar but effective ride.

Smile is in Cinemas now (certificate 18).

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