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‘Laura Hasn’t Slept’: Watch the creepy, ‘Elm Street’-esque short film that inspired ‘Smile’

It all started here - and yeah - there are still some smiles.

By Trent Moore
SMILE | "Laura Hasn't Slept" Original Short Film

The horror film Smile is arguably one of the biggest surprise hits of the year, starting as a low-to-mid-budget horror film likely destined for Paramount Plus before being bumped up to a theatrical release at the eleventh hour (likely because it’s awesome).

The rest is box office history, as the flick has made more than $200 million and counting on the big screen. But what’s the origin story of this little horror film that could? We can finally get a look at how it all started, as Paramount has released the 2020 short film from eventual Smile director Parker Finn that led the studio to give him a shot at a feature film.

Titled “Laura Hasn’t Slept,” the short is very much in the same vibe as Smile and showcases much of the same foreboding cinematography and spine-tingling suspense beats. The short focuses on a young woman named Laura (Caitlin Stasey) who is losing her grip on reality and becomes trapped in her dreams. It’s not exactly the plot of Smile, but you can feel the seeds starting to grow.

Check out the full 10-minute short below:

The short still features some freaky smiling moments, but feels more in like with something like A Nightmare on Elm Street (more specifically, the darker vibes of Wes Craven’s New Nightmare), as the woman’s tether to reality and the dream world slowly starts to unravel. It’s a tight, very creepy little horror story in its own right, and for Smile fans, even serves as a prequel of sorts.

As keen-eyed fans likely noticed, Laura (once again played by (Caitlin Stasey) is also a character in Smile. Laura is the young lady who is infected with the “Smile” curse to start the film, and is also the person who kick starts the story of Dr. Rose Cotter (Sosie Bacon) when she kills herself right in front of her and passes the curse along to her. So if you take “Laura Hasn’t Slept” as a prequel, it seems things only got worse for poor Laura.

If you missed Smile on the big screen, the film is streaming now on Paramount Plus.

Looking for even more fresh horror? Find The Black Phone, Halloween Ends, They/Them and more streaming now on Peacock.