Following the box office success of Smile, the director shares a look at Laura Hasn’t Slept, the short film that originated the surprise horror hit. Paramount released the supernatural horror movie in late September, and it topped the domestic theatrical market for three weeks following its premiere. Smile revolves around Rose Cotter, a psychiatrist who witnesses the paranoid Laura (Caitlin Stasey) commit suicide in front of her. After her traumatic experience, Rose begins to experience increasingly terrifying visions that only she can see.
Before Smile topped the box office, director Parker Finn created the short film Laura Hasn’t Slept, which precedes the events of the supernatural horror hit. IGN and Finn share an exclusive clip from Laura Hasn’t Slept, which shows Stasey as Laura talking to a therapist. Suddenly, the therapist begins speaking cryptically, and the office rots and decays around Laura, who is terrified. Check out the short film below:
How Smile Builds Upon Its Short Film
Theatergoers will immediately notice that Laura Hasn’t Slept features the same character and actor from the very beginning of Smile. Stasey’s Laura gets stretchered into Rose’s psychiatric hospital a few days after seeing her art history professor commit suicide and rambles about a smiling entity telling her that she is going to die. Shortly after their introduction, Laura cuts her throat with a piece of porcelain in front of the traumatized Rose, passing the smiling curse to the film’s protagonist.
Finn’s 2019 short film (which premiered at South by Southwest in 2020) displays a brief glimpse of Laura’s ongoing encounter with the smiling entity just before she meets Rose and falls victim to the curse. Many elements of Laura Hasn’t Slept persist in Smile, chiefly the core narrative, Stasey/Laura, and the paranoic atmosphere generated by the incomprehensible supernatural force haunting Rose throughout the film. But while the cinematography and editing in Laura Hasn’t Slept is impressive, Smile features much more polished visual effects, saving most of the significant environmental transformations for the end of the film. It also foregoes the trope of the entity’s eyes rolling back into its head.
Despite not having a household brand name attached, Smile emerged triumphant at the box office due to clever marketing tactics at MLB games and strong word-of-mouth. It is inspiring to see that the film had a similarly humble origin in Finn’s short film Laura Hasn’t Slept, which is the passion project of a first-time writer/director that happened to appeal to a major movie studio. Finn’s creation is simple but effective, and Smile fans should be excited to see the short. Not only could it foster a spark in their cinematic endeavors, but its events add additional context to Smile as a whole concerning the horrifying and seemingly inescapable curse at its center.