Smile was a breakout horror hit that has not drifted far from the minds of its viewers due to its creepy imagery, chilling themes, and genuinely unnerving moments that range from well-executed jump scares to a full-blown bloodthirsty monster in the climax. While a sequel is in the works, it’s not out just yet. Therefore, in lieu of enjoying more scares from the franchise this Halloween, let’s drum up our favorite theories for where the plot might go for its eventual follow-up.

The original film focused on Sosie Bacon’s Rose, a counselor who witnesses a patient’s horrific suicide. After this, Rose is haunted by terrifying and unexplainable imagery wherever she goes. Rather than mere hallucinations, Rose discovers the visions are actually caused by a demonic-like entity’s curse. Most notably, she sees people in her orbit — from family members to strangers — wearing an unbroken and insidious grin when they see her.

The film ends with tragedy as we come to learn the demon’s victims rarely survive past four days. Just like countless others before her, Rose gets completely possessed by the demon and ends up killing herself wearing that same creepy smile in front of her ex-boyfriend, Kyle Gallner’s Joel, thus passing the curse onto him. In fact, Joel is our perfect starting point for what we want to see happen in the sequel.

The movie will be more of a police procedural, with Joel as the protagonist

Image via Paramount.

As we alluded to earlier, Joel becoming the protagonist for Smile 2 only makes sense since he is the survivor from the first film who now has the curse. We can easily pick up right where the first film left off, with Joel trying to pick up the pieces of his life after witnessing his ex-girlfriend set herself on fire.

The advantage of having Joel as our main character this time is that since he is a detective, the story could lean into a police procedural type of affair, albeit with a different kind of spin. Perhaps Joel becomes motivated to collect material evidence that this monster actually exists, either to clear his name as a suspect in Rose’s death or to reassure Rose’s surviving sister, Gillian Zinser’s Holly, that Rose was under the influence of a demon rather than suicidal.

Heck now that we think about it, how scary would it be for the movie to begin with Joel getting arrested under the false claim that he killed Rose? Meanwhile, he only has four short days to get out from behind bars and break the curse somehow as the shadows of a jail cell produce creepy hallucinations in every corner.

Joel traces the chain of killings even further back 

Image via Paramount.

As part of Joel’s investigation into the demon to clear his and Rose’s names, perhaps he discovers how much further back the chain of suicides and/or murders truly goes. Like the entity from Stephen King’s It, there could be some extended lore about the monster’s interactions with society from olden times that we find out about. Is this entity a newer phenomenon or part of time immemorial?

We find out more about the entity — but not too much more

Image via Paramount Pictures

We’d love to find out just a little bit more about the entity, which is sometimes called The Monstrosity. For instance, if Joel traces back the demon’s origin to colonial American times and discovers diaries from back then describing the monster, it could hold clues about what people back then believed it to be — or provide any insights into weaknesses. That might come in the form of people believing it to be a literal demon from hell haunting a town, or perhaps even fueling the paranoia of the Salem witch trials back in the day.

Some smidgen of a backstory is all we’re asking for, really. However, the filmmakers needn’t go too crazy with this idea since the villain from a horror film can sometimes be more effective the less we know about it. In other words, we absolutely don’t need to see a flashback of the entity getting spit out of a wormhole onto ancient Earth and seeing cavemen do battle with it, or any goofy nonsense like that.

Joel resolves to kill someone in order to break the curse for himself

Image via Paramount.

In the first Smile film, we find out from the convicted murderer Robert Talley (played by Robert Morgan) that there is another way to break the curse that does not involve killing oneself. What Talley did was brutally kill someone in front of a witness, with the curse being passed on to the bystander who saw it happen, since he explained that the demon gets passed on through trauma.

We could easily see a good chunk of the plot revolve around Joel deciding to kill someone early on with this knowledge in mind, selecting his target, and figuring out how to pull it off in front of another person, using his skillset as a policeman. This would also work to take the police procedural format and flip it on its head. Now that we think of it, Joel deciding to kill Robert sort of makes perfect sense since he’s already a convicted murderer. Joel can also team up with Jessie T. Usher’s Trevor, Rose’s current boyfriend, to ensnare him as a witness to the murder under the false pretense that he needs help with the investigation.

Kal Penn’s Dr. Morgan Desai returns as a kind of foil for Joel

Image via Paramount.

Kal Penn’s Dr. Morgan Desai was Rose’s boss in Smile. He knew that Rose witnessed a suicide. He could have heard about Rose’s suicide in the second movie and started looking into the details of her death as a way of finding closure.

Meanwhile, perhaps Joel crosses paths with Dr. Morgan through the course of the story and tries to tell him about the demon. We could see this leading to some interesting and thematic dramatic tension, with Dr. Morgan advocating for a scientific interpretation of events and Joel bringing to his attention the unexplainable aspects of it through his forensic research that seems to point to the demon being real. This could cause a conflict resulting in Dr. Morgan wanting to commit Joel instead of allowing him to continue his investigation and trying to break the curse.

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