You know some movies are going to be great just by watching the opening five minutes. The quality simply starts oozing from every aspect and you start getting excited. Well, this is one of those movies. It’s going to grip you like a motherfucker right from those opening five minutes and it’s not going to let go until the end. It’s going to grip you like that motherfucking hand. Talk to Me is an impressive modern horror movie offering a refreshing take on the whole possession subgenre. The main premise is simple but incredibly effective.
A group of teens discovers a weird hand that enables them to talk to dead people. Well, that’s basically it, I mean, I don’t want to spoil anything for you. When I said that Talk to Me is a modern horror movie, I really meant it. Teenagers behave like today’s teenagers and not like they escaped from an eighties slasher. Social media, mobile phones, and the vocabulary are all updated to today’s standards. I only didn’t see anyone vaping or driving those annoying scooters.
After that furious intro, I immediately thought that Talk to Me feels like an A24 (Hereditary, The Witch) movie. And, of course, they acquired distribution rights after a bidding war with Universal. The next thought that I had was that all of this feels a bit Babadooky and again I was right as producer Samantha Jennings helped shape the movie into the masterpiece that it is. What can I say, I’m either a genius or a cave dweller who spends all too much time watching movies. Okay, okay, I’m a cave dweller, I freely admit it.
However, the main guys behind this movie are Danny and Michael Philippou who wrote and directed it. I expect great things from them as they remind me of The Spierig Brothers (Undead, Predestination). They refused to make a DC Extended Universe movie in favor of this one. And they definitely made the right decision as the sequel is already in the works. Without any hints of commercial compromises, Talk to Me is a delightfully nasty experience. You know the one where you want to look away but are unable to, well, that one. It’s willing to show us visions of horror that are bound to stay with us for a long time after the movie is over.
A nightmarish vision brought to life with excellent practical effects that look absolutely terrifying. So terrifying that religious people could use them to show what hell would look like. If it existed, that is. Australians have this knack for making great horror movies that simply stay with you. I think that the best example is the masterpiece The Loved Ones. I mean, not only do we get those uncomfortably visceral and very graphic scenes but we also get excellent character development. Teens we’re going to meet make very human decisions not bound by stereotypes. All of this is amplified by excellent performances by everyone in our young cast.
And while Sophie Wilde was definitely excellent, I would also like to mention Alexandra Jensen and Joe Bird who play brother and sister. Just to get back to the Australian cinema for a short bit, Sissy is another horror movie featuring the concept of a dying kangaroo on the road. Although I’m sure Talk to Me is going down in history as that scary movie with a hand that can summon dead people. 2023 seems to be the year of the horror as we got several absolute gems like Evil Dead Rise, Hellhole, and Barbarian. And I can’t wait to see No One Gets Out Alive.
Directors: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou
Writers: Danny Philippou, Bill Hinzman, Daley Pearson
Cast: Sophie Wilde, Joe Bird, Alexandra Jensen, Zoe Terakes, Miranda Otto, Chris Alosio
Fun Facts: At this point in time, it’s still unknown whether Talk to Me 2 is going to be a sequel or a prequel. Mostly because a series of videos detailing events that happened prior to the events in this movie have already been uploaded to the Internet. This is the Duckett’s backstory although the videos have been since deleted.