GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Smile (2021)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Smile (2021): Six minutes, two characters and incredibly unsettling, Smile is a simple metaphor for depression told in an incredibly stunning way.

Anna (Konstantina Mantelos, who was in one of my favorite recent horror films, Anything for Jackson) is the only human we see in this movie — we hear Ashley Laurence (Kristy from the Hellraiser films) as the voice of her mother — and we’re with her as she struggles to smile and then deals with Moros (Tyler Williams), who in Greek mythology is the living and personification of impending doom and a demon destroys mortals fated to die.

Director and writer Joanna Tsanis has made several shorts, but this is the first of her work that I’ve seen. She also has the benefit of great cinematography by Jason Han and magical special effects makeup by Carlos Henriques.

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