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'Talk to Me' review: Taunt horror flick shows viewers the other side


Courtesy of A24

 

A crackling horror flick with plenty of rapid-fire energy, memorable jump scares, and a final shot for the ages, filmmakers/brothers Danny and Micheal Philippou’s “Talk to Me” take viewers on a whirlwind head trip. It won’t get style points for being the most original endeavor, I mean, how many movies exist where teenagers mess with things they shouldn’t be? In this case, it’s sculpted hands that, when you hold onto it and utter the phrase: “talk to me,” it opens a portal into another dimension. The Australian filmmakers, who got their starts as crew on the cult smash “The Babadook,” infuse the movie with a spirited and youthful aurora. 


Starting with Sophie Wilde who plays Mia, a young woman still grieving the death of her mother after an accidental overdose (at least that’s what the people around her say). Mia doesn’t have much and her father (Marcus Johnson) would rather remain silent than dig into any personal traumas. It’s that dynamic which leads Mia, who spends most of her free time with best friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen), her brother Riley (Joe Bird) and their mom Sue (Miranda Otto), where she stumbles upon an odd trend circulating on her social media feed and decides she wants to indulge. 


Some kids from her school have gotten ahold of ceramic hands, which is rumored to have real severed hands encased inside, where if you take hold of it and say “talk to me,” a dead person quickly appears on the other side, and if you grant the entity permission, they will invade your mind, body, and soul. Don’t let it linger for longer than 90 seconds or else you risk giving yourself over to the other side. The kids take turns inhabiting the spooky phenomena like those ill-fated teens from “Flatliners.” 


Predictably, Mia finds herself saddled with vivid hallucinations and visions after the night of binge possessions, especially as she witnesses one of the ghosts that has arrived from the other side is her mother. “Talk to Me” puts Mia through a gauntlet of emotions and Wilde channels several different layers as she tries contending with them, which is a refreshing change from the usual slash-and-dash of horror flicks these days. The movie didn’t knock my socks off, but it’s a nice stepping stone for two rising filmmakers who could one day make the leap towards something bigger. Eager to see where they land next. 


Grade: B 


TALK TO ME is now playing in theaters.  


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