Horror Movie Review: Talk to Me (2023)

Talk to Me is an Australian horror film that was directed by Danny and Michael Philippou, releasing in 2023. It sure has created quite a buzz within the genre to the tune of $69 million worldwide against a $4.5 million budget. In fact, it was so successful that it became A24’s most profitable film in the North American region. This led to a sequel immediately being greenlit. Alongside such monumental popularity, came the dreaded talk of how unbelievably terrifying it is. For me, such talk never really works out too well when it comes to seeing the film. Let’s find out if Talk to Me lives up to the hype.

At a crowded house party, Cole searches for his brother Duckett. When Cole finds Duckett and attempts to bring him home, Duckett stabs his brother before fatally stabbing himself in the face.

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Mia is struggling with the second anniversary of her mother Rhea’s death by overdose and her distant relationship with her father Max. Mia, her best friend Jade, and Jade’s little brother Riley sneak out to one of many gatherings hosted by Hayley and Joss. The main attraction is a severed, embalmed hand of mysterious origin. Holding the hand and saying “Talk to me” allows a person to commune with a spirit, followed by saying “I let you in”, enabling the spirit to possess them. The connection must be severed before ninety seconds in order to prevent the spirits from binding themselves to that person. Mia volunteers to go first and is possessed by a spirit that displays a menacing focus on Riley. Joss and Hayley manage to break the connection, but only after the time limit is exceeded slightly.

Mia is seemingly ecstatic over the feeling the hand brought her. The group agree to gather once again the next night. Jade refuses to let Riley and James participate, but all of the others (excluding Jade) indulge, enjoying the euphoria of possession. When Jade leaves the room, Mia gives in and lets Riley take a turn. Riley appears to be possessed by Rhea’s spirit, who attempts to reconcile with Mia. Mia stops the group from ending the possession to keep talking to Rhea, completely disregarding the time limit. Riley’s body is overtaken by the spirits, who make him attempt suicide by repeatedly smashing his face against the table, and he is hospitalized in critical condition

Mia, now haunted by visions of Rhea, is turned away by Jade and her mother Sue, both of whom blame her for Riley’s injuries. Having secretly taken the embalmed hand, Mia repeatedly uses it to contact Rhea, who insists that her death was accidental and that she needs to help Riley, who is still possessed and attempts suicide every time he returns to consciousness.Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

The addiction to use the hand to commune with her mother gets bigger and bigger for Mia but does the demonic presence have an ulterior motive?

Talk to Me lives up to the hype in a number of ways that I’ll get into now. Firstly, this is some damn fine acting performances from a bunch of young actors that I have never seen before. Sophie Wilde (Mia) does a really great job but Joe Bird (Riley) is a standout considering their age and that this is their debut film. The scenes in which we see the characters get “possessed” really impressed me due to the physicality and convincing transformations on display.

Unfortunately, I found many of the other characters to be quite weak. Nobody is particularly fleshed out and many of the intricacies of their relationships feel undercooked. There’s a love triangle sub plot that goes nowhere and feels extremely ridiculous considering everything that the characters experience. I know these are supposed to be teenagers but come on now, it’s silly.

The demonic moments are by far the most interesting because the effects used are high quality. It reminded me of something you’d expect to see in an Evil Dead film which is a huge compliment in my book. It’s deliciously gruesome to look at but creepy as hell at the same time.

Additionally, there are some neat moments of clever cinematography. There’s a dream sequence in which Mia sort of steps out of bed into a dream world, it looked really cool. Have you ever seen a pile of clothes on a chair in the corner of your room and thought, “that looks like something strange”. Well, this film has a moment that plays off that feeling which I found pretty awesome.

Also, I feel that the length of Talk to Me is something worthy of praise. It comes in at just 95 minutes which is merciful compared to how long most other modern films are. I never felt bored while watching; it gripped me from start to finish.

Overall, Talk to Me manages to provide a fresh feeling concept in a genre that is so very tired. If demonic possession was ever discovered to be real, I can actually imagine it being abused in this way. I could totally see teenagers using it as some sort of social media trend. I look forward to the potential possibilities that sequels could provide.




Author

  • Liam Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Typical 90s-00s kid; raised on Pokémon, Final Fantasy & the Attitude Era. In fact, that makes up about 99% of my personality. The remaining 1% is dedicated to my inner rage for people who still don’t understand the ending of Lost or those that enjoyed the Game of Thrones final season. Find me on GBHBL where I’ll most likely be reviewing horror movies or games. Also, see me on our YouTube channel!

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