The most frightening horrors are the ones you let inside. Grief. Self destruction. Escalating thrill seeking. They can fester and lurk under unhealthy choices.
Talk To Me holds out its hand to connect you with the lessons, and dangers, of the past in the ever present now.
Talk To Me is the debut film from Australian brothers Danny and Michael Phillippou (otherwise known for their YouTube channel RackaRacka).
What Is Talk To Me About?
Set in Adelaide, the movie depicts a mysterious hand shaped artifact that is passed around a group of teens.
Touching it means you (and only you) can see the dead, and even become possessed. Don’t worry though, everything will go back to normal so long as everyone sticks to the rules…
As the second anniversary of the death of her mother nears, 17 year old Mia (Sophie Wilde) feels increasingly distant from her father.
Haunted by the unclear circumstances of her mother’s undignified passing, Mia leans on her close friendship with Jade (Alexandra Jensen) and sisterly affection for Jade’s younger brother, Riley (Joe Bird); wrangling herself an invitation to a secret party as a welcome distraction.
The film opened with such a party going horrifically awry so the seeds to keep you on edge have already been planted.
Yet, like a thunderstorm looming on the horizon, Talk To Me rumbles forward slowly; it battens down the hatches of its characters in readiness for oncoming disaster.
Partly this takes the form of teenage posturing – relatable for a young audience but perhaps rankling for an older one.
Talk To Me Official Trailer
Is Talk To Me Worth Watching
Jade’s awkward relationship with her physically withdrawn boyfriend, as well as Riley’s struggle to shake off the comforts of childhood, speak to a transition world where the allure of dangerous stimulation blinkers self-preservation.
The parallels with teenage drug experimentation are clear. Summoning the dead with a whispered ‘talk to me’ spikes the séance setting, as those who ‘let in’ the spirits are lunged into pleasurable rapture.
The passing around of the hand totem – a wonderfully unsettling prop – a thin metaphor for the passing around of illicit substances.
As with drugs, what starts as fun can quickly turn into life-changing trauma. To herald in the second act, the Phillippous burst the swollen pressure with a brutal lynchpin scene that showcases both a depth of performance from Bird and a gutsy dedication to practical effects work.
The melting pot of teenage yearning and adult grief boil over into horrendous after effects.
Wilde is outstanding, fighting each new emotion in a desperate attempt to claw away her own guilt, both past and present.
Talk To Me skitters from classic possession spooks to quasi Clive Barker hellishness, leaving a lingering desire that it would be better served to double down on one or the other.
Despite a lack of later standout set pieces, Wilde’s ever frazzling mental state centres the third act and guides us into an earned ending.
The transition into adulthood takes as much as it gives and Talk To Me expertly weaves in such subtext into an already skilled possession movie.
As a debut feature it promises hopefully more chills and thrills from the Phillippou brothers. As a night in though, it proffers an inviting grip upon your viewing.
Words by Mike Record
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