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  • Writer's pictureCaleb Orcutt

Talk to Me (2023)

Updated: Apr 29

When making a film be nonstop tension, you always run the high risk of losing your audience. It's like going up a hill on a rollercoaster but you never go down. Talk to Me manages to be 90 minutes of pure tension that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

Talk to Me follows a group of friends that discover how to summon spirits through an embalmed hand only for a supernatural force to get unleashed. The film is directed by the Philippou brothers known by their YouTube channel RackaRacka. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January of 2023 where it was quickly bought by A24 as well as the studio signing on the RackaRacka duo for future films.

The plausibility of Talk to Me is one of the most terrifying parts; a group of teens summoning spirits through an embalmed hand just for social media fame. This feels like a horrid version of when teens were eating TidePods or knocking themselves unconscious in hopes of going viral. The teens within the film perfectly replicate fame-seeking kids who throw late night drinking parties thinking they're cool and constantly filming everything for TikTok. Each of the teens in the film feel authentic even the characters of Hayley (Zoe Terakes) and Joss (Chris Alosio) who you won't necessarily care for until the third act.

The obvious standout in the film is Mia (Sophie Wilde) who gives a truly authentic portrayal of a teenager struggling with the loss of her mother. Despite all the supernatural terror, this is a film about processing grief. The story sees Mia's deceased mother's spirit take control of a boy. This leads to Mia using this as a coping mechanism as she slowly descends into believing these supernatural beings. Ultimately, Mia is slowly going insane as her grief drives her mad.

The use of violence in the film shocked and suprised me. I went into this expecting it to be a blood bath but it wasn't. The opening scene sees a boy kill his brother and then kills himself after being taken over by a spirit but those are the only "theoretical" deaths in the film. The scenes of demonic posession are unsettling as you watch these people contort their bodies in inhuman ways but it's the possession of Riley that stuck with me. What starts out as an emotional scene as the demon that possess Riley is Mia's mother quickly turns into a suicide attempt as Riley bashes his head into the corner of a cabinet and tries gouging his own eye out. It's a hard to watch scene as you don't quite know if he's going to survive or not.

The main question that Talk to Me handles is "How do we reach out to our lost loved ones, when they’ve closed themselves off to us, locked the door, and thrown away the key?". This deeply personal idea is what drives the characters in the film and also makes you think about your life and how you would react if the spirit of a loved one talked to you through someone else's body. That's where the Philippou brothers shine is by making a deeply emotional yet terrifying film and one of the best horror films of the year.

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