Talk to Me Movie Review

Talk to Me movie poster

In Talk to Me, a group of teenagers-or-twenty-somethings-it’s-hard-to-tell discover a new kind of communal party drug: a severed porcelain/embalmed hand that unlocks a door to the ghost world, which provides a momentary if terrifying rush that becomes increasingly addictive. While one would hope that most of even the dumbest kids in the world would back away slowly and then flee from such a situation, here we are.

Talk to Me is a well-made horror film that never quite finds its stride–but also offers several spine-tingling or jaw-dropping moments of terror that work exceedingly well.

Sophie Wilde stars as Mia, who still is dealing with the grief of the sudden loss of her mother two years older. She insists she accidentally overdosed on sleeping pills, but we know the truth and deep down she does too. When her quasi-friends introduce her to the aforementioned “possession game,” she believes she’s found a way to discover the truth by talking to her deceased mother. Of course, we know the truth about that, too–just because she looks and sounds like your mother doesn’t mean she’s your mother.

Talk to Me operates at a lean 95 minutes but is also patiently told; aside from a violent opening, directors Danny and Michael Philippou take their time building to the crux of the story. There are a few stretches where the movie–and I hate to use the term “drags,” because it doesn’t drag–could have accelerated faster or maintained velocity or dug deeper, rather than pull away. There’s a slight choppiness to the story’s momentum, a hesitancy to grab you by the throat and shake you like a rabid dog.

And yet it comes ever so close, and close is good enough. Talk to Me is at times horrifying. The possession scenes are incredibly well staged. Creepy through and through. Unsettling as fuck. And when the Big Bad Thing happens, it’s as shocking and disturbing and sad–and immensely satisfying–as anything horror has to offer. The rest is a descent into Hell, and you know it before the characters do.

The cast is great, too; they really sell the experience. Wilde is terrific in the lead, but the supporting cast adds color and complexity even if most of them are ultimately window dressing. Mirando Otto will go under appreciated as the mother, though don’t overlook young Joe Bird, who essentially plays two violently different people.

There’s a lot to like about Talk to Me. The horror scenes are immensely well done. The story is compelling, even unpredictable. The body horror aspects are strong. I just wish the Philippous would have found their footing a little early and dug a little deeper into this Hellish world they’ve unlocked.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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