Talk to Me

It’s all fun and games, until somebody gets possessed from the other side.

You have to be idiotic teenager who does drugs and drinks to get in too deep, when it comes to a game. A game in which there is an embalmed hand, which is said to be have belonged to a medium (definitely not Tiffany Haddish’s character as she’s too busy with “Haunted Mansion”). That’s where the Australian horror film “Talk to Me” comes in, and it’s actually a smart and riveting one. One that I can imagine if it was part of “The Conjuring” universe (targeted for the American audience), which I don’t want to.

The rules of the game are simple.

It begins with a candle being lit. You get tied to a chair, you have to hold the hand as if you’re making a deal with it, and you say two things: “Talk to me” and “I let you in.” In between, the victim sees an ugly woman, who looks like the bathtub lady in “The Shining.” When the person says: I let you in,” he/she goes in a trance, and is temporarily possessed by whoever wants to make contact with the living world. And all of this should be done in 90 seconds, which is when the candle should be blown out.

Typically of today’s generation, and in an attempt to prove to society of a fantasy happening in reality, they all take videos with their iPhones.

The main player of the game is Mia (Sophie Wilde), who lost her mother in an accidental death and is struggling to get over her tragedy. She hangs out with her friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen), who seems more interested in texting than picking up from little brother Riley (Joe Bird). They, along with Jade’s boyfriend Daniel (Otis Dhanji) go to a party, hosted by Hayley (Zoe Terakes) and Joss (Chris Alosio), who begin the horrifying game.

They keep playing the game so much, that Mia eventually makes contact with who may be her dead mother, and one of the players gets critically injured by whoever is on the other side. Like WTF injured.

This is when Mia gets threatened by the spirits, and this is when she must set things straight.

On the side, Miranda Otto (in her first movie role since the lousy “Downhill”) plays Jade and Riley’s mother, who is actually smarter than her daughter, dislikes her boyfriend, and eventually blames Mia for what happens within her family. It’s a fantasy happening in reality, so how could she possibly believe she isn’t to blame at this point?

“Talk to Me” was directed by twin filmmakers Danny and Michael Philippou, who both have an Australian YouTube channel by the name of RackaRacka, which is known for its intense comedy-horror videos. Their feature debut is far from a comedy, although a game montage likes to act like it’s heading in that direction. But this is a scary film. Not jump in your face scary, but haunting and patient with more originality than what was presented in “Cobweb.”

Even if there is a finger nail shot I hate, and even if I can’t read all the teenagers (who seem to be modeled after the “Scream” crowd), there’s still enough consistency for us to learn about Mia, her pathos, and the horrors she’s entering. Wilde gives a perfect performance in the role, and I hope she expands her horizons as a young actress, which I’m positive she will.

A24 sure manages to pick some fresh and riveting horror films to distribute, and there’s a lot of wonder and scares inside “Talk to Me” to really be absorbed. And that’s one hand I sure ain’t shaking my hand with.

Rating: 3.5 out of 4.

This article was written by me with full support of the SAG-AFTRA and Writers Guild of America strikes.

Categories: Horror, Thriller

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