top of page

Talk to Me

It’s been a while since a new horror film has done anything genuinely interesting and scary with a supernatural concept. Get Out is probably the last example of a brand-new original film in the genre that’s commanded attention from general audiences and film critics alike, and even that was six years ago now. Ever since, the vast majority of what we’ve been given is remakes, readaptations and desperate attempts to squeeze any and all life out of the last remaining formula that still seems to get people into cinemas. We like to be scared and we’re not overly fussy about how a film achieves our fear, so naturally we end up with a conveyor belt of low-effort vehicles to sell tickets.


Talk to Me is a bit different.


Directed by YouTubers Michael and Danny Phillippou, they certainly aren’t lacking in enthusiasm. It’s clear from any interview at any of the numerous festivals they’ve spoken at that they’re absolutely full of it. They love the horror genre, and they can’t believe their luck that they’ve managed to make a film in the space that they hold in such high regard. In one particular interview, they talk about the films they watched far too young. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is mentioned as one that had a special impact on them, but The Exorcist is the one that seems to have left more of an imprint on what they’d hoped to achieve with Talk to Me.


The Phillippou’s, like most of us, look to The Exorcist as the head of the demonic possession subgenre within horror. One of the reasons it worked so well in the 70s is that it was relevant to what scared people at the time. Back when more people took the concept of religion far more seriously than we do as a society nowadays, the thought of priests doing battle with an evil spirit over the body of a young girl was terrifying. It wouldn’t work now, though.


In making a possession horror for the modern day, The Phillippous have put together a film that’s almost straight down the middle of The Evil Dead and The Lost Boys. Rather than a book of the dead, the gateway to the dead is a medium’s severed and preserved hand, and rather than suburban vampires, the kids interacting with it are just looking for a good time in another dimension.


When a video of someone from their school becoming possessed after interacting with the hand goes viral, Mia (Sophie Wilde) and Alexandra Jensen (Jade) go in search of whether it’s all real or not. The real strength in Talk to Me comes from just how real their friendship feels. Mia has made herself as much a part of Jade’s family as Jade herself is, acting almost as a spare daughter to her mother, and a spare older sister to her younger brother, Riley (Joe Bird).


As the feeling of possession becomes something of an addiction, Mia begins to lose herself to it. Jade’s family are sucked into a world that they wanted no part in, but Mia lacks the support of a real family when it all gets too tough. It’s a family dynamic that breeds likeable characters, relatable feelings and heartbreaking isolation. The result is that Talk to Me creates wildly visceral reactions with ease. It’s hard to believe that this is the first film that The Phillippou’s have ever directed.


Given that this is now an A24 production, there is absolutely no doubt that everyone involved is about to blow up to bigger things, and deservedly so. Every actor gives a heartfelt and memorable performance of a screenplay that’s written with thought, consideration and a love for horror. The Phillippous may have already made their masterpiece.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

BFI London Film Festival 2023

Shortcomings In a way, Shortcomings was the perfect film to open up the London Film Festival this year. More often than not, deciding what to see in this context is based on minimal information. It mi

Past Lives Review

Fate and destiny aren’t unfamiliar concepts in cinema. From William Friedkin‘s Sorcerer to the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks blockbuster Sleepless in Seattle, the two closely related concepts have been used

Minore (FrightFest 2023)

In a sense, it’s unfortunate that every modern monster movie will be compared to Jaws. Unless it’s a pre-existing franchise like Godzilla or King Kong, Steven Speilberg’s seaside classic remains the s

Comments


bottom of page