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  • Nate Adams

'Tarot' review: Horoscope chiller could use a new sign

Courtesy of Sony/Screen Gems


Another PG13 horror film enters the fray this weekend with writer/directors Spenser Cohen & Anna Halberg’s “Tarot,” a simple, harmless, not very memorable excursion that’s the 2024 equivalent of “Darkness Falls.” Like that 2002 chiller, “Tarot” is your typical run-of-the-mill scary outing where none of the victims have any personality beyond their archetypes and the deaths are neutered because of the age-appropriate rating. Nonetheless, teenagers looking for a communal movie to enjoy with their friends could do worse than “Tarot,” which has the benefit of some decent creature effects, but is bogged down by every cliche you could possibly imagine. 

After all, it begins with seven friends who, somehow, rented a mansion in the middle of the woods. It’s obvious they’ve never seen “Evil Dead” as they decide to wander into the basement despite the “KEEP OUT” in bold, red letters plastered on the front. And when they stumble upon a deck of creepy tarot cards, you’d think they would heed the warning, Haley (Harriet Slater), who is a novice astrology reader, says about how it’s baaaad news to mess with someone else’s deck. But nope! They want to have their signs read unbeknownst how it will come back to haunt them later in the film. Silly kids. 

Naturally, Haley drums up all her friend’s signs and establishes their “fates.” We learn Paxton (Jacob Batalon, the “Spider Man” films) is the fool, Paige (Avantika, “Mean Girls”) is the responsible one, while Lucas (Wolfgang Novogratz) takes risks; and Grant (Adain Bradley) needs to face his demons (and still process his breakup with Haley). Haley, of course, gives herself a reading and confirms what she’s always known: love will be the death of her. How’s that for cryptic? 

One-by-one, the crew starts seeing their readings play out in real life, with each of them subsequently getting axed in brutal fashion. The police are useless, which forces the survivors to track down a disavowed medium (played by Olwen Fouere) to confirm what they already know: the tarot readings are baaad news. Even the countless expository monologues don’t really clear up the confusion surrounding the entity that’s possessing the ghouls hunting down Haley and her pals. Not that you’d care what happens to them anyway, the most character development we get involves an undercooked thread about Haley’s deceased mother and that Paxton has a roommate named Ted. 

Loosely inspired by the book “Horoscope,” which was actually about a serial killer using Zodiac signs, not necessarily the same as the demonic entities seen here, the filmmakers still manage to keep some of the sequences fresh. Including a tense elevator stand-off where Paxton comes face-to-face with a monster that’s a cross of Pennywise and the “Poltergeist” clown. The FX and creature designed, especially in this scene, are top notch and hint towards a better movie. One where the narrative isn’t short-sighted in favor of tepid jump scares, dimly lit rooms, and exploding light bulbs. Obviously, “Tarot” is geared towards younger audiences and I hope they get more enjoyment from it then I did.  

Grade: C 

TAROT is now playing in theaters. 

1 comment

תגובה אחת

Evan Wagner
Evan Wagner
03 במאי

These online forums and review sites give these self-titled critics a podium to spew their negativity without any real accountability. They act like they're the gatekeepers of taste, passing judgment on movies and filmmakers as if their opinions are gospel.

But here's the thing: most of these critics are failed filmmakers themselves, bitter about their own lack of success, so they tear down others to feel better about themselves. It's a sad cycle of pettiness and insecurity, and it's poisoning the discourse around movies.

And let's not forget about the damage they do. One bad review from a prominent critic can sink a movie's chances at the box office, regardless of its actual quality. It's unfair to both filmmakers and…


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