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‘Smile’ director shares the short film that inspired the smash hit horror

What a difference a few years makes!

Smile movie
Image via Paramount Pictures

It’s been just over a month since Parker Finn’s Smile hit theaters and cursed horror fanatics with an ear-to-ear grin. With a budget of just $17 million, Smile managed to gross $210 million worldwide and it’s still showing in select theaters globally, so that number could still climb in the coming weeks.

What many fans might not know is that Parker Finn made his directorial debut with Smile, but the screenplay — also written by Finn — was based on his 2020 short film titled Laura Hasn’t Slept. And now, courtesy of IGN, some footage from that same short film has made the rounds on social media, particularly Twitter. Laura Hasn’t Slept stars Caitlin Stasey as Laura Weaver, who reprised her role in Smile two years later as Rose Cotter’s patient and the main focus of the official trailer.

Starring Sosie Bacon, daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, Smile follows Dr. Rose Cotter, a therapist who witnesses the traumatic death of her patient and then inherits a supernatural curse that presents itself in the form of smiling strangers. The film also stars Jessie T. Usher, Kyle Gallner, Caitlin Stasey, Kal Penn, and Rob Morgan.

Smile takes heavy inspiration from blockbusters like It Follows and Truth or Dare, but the concept somehow manages to stay wholly inventive and unique, even though it shares some similarities with the aforementioned films. In Laura Hasn’t Slept, which almost acts like an origin story for Rose’s patient, we see Laura in a therapy session with a middle-aged man, discussing her recurring nightmares. By the end of the clip, the room around Laura begins to deteriorate and slowly but menacingly, her therapist begins to bare a chilling smile. It isn’t hard to see similarities between Finn’s short film and the finished product, which boasts some startling and convincing jump scares and a plot that just keeps on giving. It will certainly satisfy the taste buds of horror fans for years to come.

Right now, Smile is still showing in select theaters, but it won’t be too long before it finds a new home on VOD.

Chynna Wilkinson
About the author

Chynna Wilkinson

For over 7 years, Chynna has been a noteworthy presence within creative media. As a self- proclaimed geek and driven by a passion for horror, comic books, video games, and modern cinema, she takes pride in providing only the best publications. She likes to label herself as an innovative writer doing what she loves, especially when it concerns her favorite interests. Aside from personal written projects, she can be credited as an award-winning screenwriter, published poet, and accomplished academic writer. She has taken the media industry by storm, producing short stories, screenplays, articles, features, and poetry that thoroughly engage, excite and thrill those fortunate enough to read them. She enjoys watching anime, horror movies, and animated shows; her life revolves around cinema, video games, and tasteful literature.