Talk to Me Review

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike movies like Talk to Me wouldn’t exist.

In the horror movie genre, we have seen movies dealing with possession. While there are many movies about demonic possession, there have been few that show us what happens to a person after their body is occupied by the soul of a dead person. Talk to Me gives us an insight into a viral “game” the main characters play and what happens when the game goes too far. The movie also gives us some imagery that is so viseral that it will stay with you long after the movie is over.

When I was younger I remember seeing a movie called “Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” and that should have been the motto for this movie. The long one-shot that opens the movie sets the pace as to what we can expect for the rest of the movie. There is a lot of tension. A lot of activity and then “BOOM!” something comes out at you unexpectedly. Now, there are not that many jumpscares in the movie, and the Philippou brothers do a great job at pacing the scares. The way this story is masterfully told you would not believe that this is their first major motion picture. Let’s tell you a little about the movie.

The movie follows Mia (played by Sophie Wilde) who has been outcasted in a way after the death of her mother. She hangs out with her friend, Jade, and her brother, Riley (played by Alexandra Jensen and Joe Bird, respectively). The relationship between Mia and her father is not the best. Mia tends to keep to herself and feels that her father never told her the truth about her mother’s death. As Mia tries to not be the outcast she decides to volunteer in a ritual at the party where most of her school is there. Here is where the story gets you.

Courtesy of A24

Before attending the party Mia and Jade are watching videos online of people going through the ritual and debating if it’s real or not. At the party, Mia volunteers and we learn about the ritual. A candle is lit and the person holds onto an embalmed hand. They next say the phrase “Talk to me” and they see the soul of a dead person across from them. Next, the person holding the hand says “I let you in” and the soul of the dead person goes inside of the one holding the hand. A timer is started and after 90 seconds the candle is blown out and the person returns to normal. During their possession, their eyes completely turn black and they talk in the voice of the deceased. When Mia does this the voice talks about harm coming to Riley. Her gaze is fixated on him and you can feel the hairs on Riley’s back stand up.

The group decides to do the ritual again at Jade’s house once her mother, played by Miranda Otto, leaves for work. What follows is an amazing montage of the kids having fun and taking turns with the hand. Riley wants to take a turn but Jade feels he is too young to try it. You can already guess what happens next. Yep! Riley tries the hand and things go horribly wrong. This scene alone is enough to give you nightmares. The sound editing and visuals are just intense.

The remnants of the possession start messing with Mia. She starts seeing things, experiencing things, and finding herself in situations where she doesn’t realize how she got there. Due to Riley’s incident, Mia is shunned by Jade’s mom and tries to figure out how to fix things. Things only seem to get worse as Mia attempts to correct things and get Riley back and this is where the movie really flourishes. Not only does Mia’s relationship with Jade go sour but her relationship with her father also takes a turn.

With constant sequels or remakes of older horror movies being made, the Philippou brothers have created a horror movie that gives us an original story that we have never seen on the screen before. The thought of connecting with the dead for 90 seconds and not knowing what you just did is not only scary but downright frightening. Knowing that people recorded you and are posting it all over the internet takes that fear to another level. Talk to Me is going to be the horror movie of the year and will scare you in ways you do not realize. Just their vision of a hellish limbo and a shocking ending is more than enough to anticipate what they will do next.

Courtesy of A24

Final Thoughts: Talk to Me does a great job of flipping the demonic possession genre in horror movies. Many times we see movies that show people possessed but few have shown us what happens after the demon leaves their bodies. In Talk to Me, we see how the souls of dead people remain with the person and how they slowly disrupt the world they live in. Some of the imagery shown on screen is so viseral that it will stay with you long after the movie is over.

Kid-Friendly: This movie is not for any children under 16, in my opinion. From the language to the innuendos and the violence, I would not recommend this movie for younger children. Some of the possessions may not only give young kids nightmares but might give some adults nightmares too.

Violence: There is a lot of violence in the movie due to the possessions. There are some stabbings and physical assaults in this movie that some may find disturbing.

When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits with an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, unleashing terrifying supernatural forces, in the eye-popping, nightmarish debut from filmmakers Danny & Michael Philippou.

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