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TALK TO ME (2023)

Release Date: 07/28/23 [Cinemas]
Genre: Horror. Thriller.

Studio: A24.

"When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces." 


It's that time of year again, folks! A24 is out with another low-budget horror film that will for sure scare the hell out of us. This one comes to us from RackaRacka filmmaking duo, Michael and Danny Phillipou, in their debut feature, Talk to Me. A group of friends partake in a paranormal party game that allows them to connect with the dead, however, things go awry when they attempt to bend the rules.


It's always a great time seeing a horror debut, not only do you get to see fresh ideas, but you also get fresh eyes. The RackaRacka filmmaking team deliver a short and sweet horror tale that's tight and effective. Their use of editing and sound design excellently enhance the psychological games that this film provides. There's also an effective and gnarly middle chunk of the film which I felt was some of the best horror filmmaking all year. They're obviously a pair of extremely talented filmmakers. However, due to the film's lackluster second half, it ultimately falls flat and disappointing as Talk to Me fails to separate itself from other contemporary paranormal horror efforts.


The main cast is pretty great here. Led by Sophia Wilde, she's joined by Joe Bird and Alexandra Jensen as a group of teens attempting to navigate this horrible tale. There's meditations on grief, loneliness, mental illness, and what it all means to go through that at this certain age. These conversations honestly reminded me of David Robert Mitchell's It Follows at times; however, Talk to Me's conversations about these issues are rather one-note and shallow. There are interesting character arcs and some pretty great performances revolving around these ideas, but the film doesn't exactly say anything new about what these characters are going through.


This debut horror was sadly a disappointment. Not to say I didn't like Talk to Me, but I can't deny that the film felt ultimately aimless towards its final act. The acting is great, and technically, the film is very well formed, but it's the film's failure to really say or comment on any of the film's themes or topics that really stop me from really appreciating it as much as I wanted to. These kinds of movies need to keep me awake at night because I can't help but think about how much they scared me; this turn, it's just a film that's honestly boring to ponder on and it gets somewhat worse the more I think about it. The RackaRacka group is undoubtedly a pair of talented filmmakers. I just hope their next feat has a better grasp on the story.

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