After Paramount's latest horror movie, Smile, exceeded expectations at the box office, talks about a sequel (Smile 2) potentially being made emerged, but the film's director revealed that it should have something essential for it to work and stand out.
The hit horror film follows Dr. Rose Cotter as she is cursed by menacing visions of a smiling entity after witnessing her patient's death. As a result, she only has seven days to evade death, leading to a game of cat and mouse against the dangerous curse.
Smile was initially slated for a streaming release on Paramount+, but it performed so well during test screenings that it was granted a theatrical outing. Despite becoming a hit, a sequel has yet to be announced, but director Parker Finn admitted that he's not against the idea of moving forward with it as a possible franchise.
Now, Finn's latest comments also suggest that he's entirely on board with a sequel being developed.
What Smile 2 Needs to Have to Stand Out
Smile ended on a dark note after Sosie Bacon's Rose tried to fight off the smiling entity, ultimately falling victim to it at the end.
However, the sudden arrival of Kyle Gallner's Joel, her ex-husband, complicated things since the curse was eventually passed on to him after witnessing Rose's death. This would mean that Joel would also need to try and find a solution to evade death and the smiling entity in the next seven days.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Smile director Parker Finn was asked about his thoughts on a Joel-led sequel that picks up right after the first movie.
Finn first admitted that "there is still a lot of interesting stuff to explore" in the world of Smile, noting that "there certainly are stones that I left unturned by design:"
"I do think that there is still a lot of interesting stuff to explore in the world of Smile. There certainly are stones that I left unturned by design. And then there are other things that I, at one point or another, wanted to put in the movie, but they didn’t end up in the movie for whatever reason. "
The horror filmmaker then revealed one thing that Smile 2 would need to have, which is "a new, exciting, fresh way into it that the audience isn’t anticipating" that includes "some new ways to scare them and unnerve them:"
"So those things are still exciting to me, but if there’s more to be done with Smile, I would never want to just repeat myself or retread the same ground. I’d want to make sure that there’s a new, exciting, fresh way into it that the audience isn’t anticipating. I also want to find some new ways to scare them and unnerve them. But as far as how it may connect to the first one, if we were to do it, I’d want that to be surprising as well."
In a separate interview with Slash Film, Kyle Gallner spoke about the possibilities of Smile 2 being led by him, saying that it all boils down to "pushing it further and exploring further:"
"I think it would be just about pushing it further and exploring further. I mean, you have the whole potential murder thing that breaks the curse. Maybe something goes on with that."
Gallner then speculated how Joel could break the curse in Smile 2 (if it happens):
"Maybe Joel f****** ices somebody and then decides he's going to try to help that person and figure out the curse. I don't know. There's a bunch of different ways it can go. That's why I'm not writing it, because I don't have that skill set to continue this on."
The Smile actor then confirmed that he is interested in returning, although he can't officially say anything definitive:
"I think it could be fun to play with. And if they want me back as Joel to jump into that sandbox, I'm more than happy to come in and play. How was that for a non-answer?"
Which Story Will Smile 2 Explore?
Smile director Parker Finn's comments about wanting to find "new ways" to scare people in Smile 2 could mean many possible things.
For starters, Smile 2 could explore Gallner's Joel but in a fresh story that sets it apart from the original.
In the first movie, much of the focus was centered around Rose's struggle to evade death. A sequel could go a different route and show a tougher Joel who uncovers the smiling entity's full history and finds more past victims aside from Robert Talley (the lone survivor of the curse).
This direction would be fitting due to Joel's current job as a detective.
On the flip side, Smile 2 could move past the cliffhanger ending to instead focus on new victims, similar to what franchises like Final Destination, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street did in the past. Doing this allows Finn to explore scarier deaths while also potentially expanding the lore around the smiling entity.
Smile is streaming on Paramount+.