Talk to Me Review
Talk to Me (2022) Film Review, a movie directed by Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou, written by Bill Hinzman, Daley Pearson and Danny Philippou and starring Sophie Wilde, Miranda Otto, Marcus Johnson, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Jett Gazley, Ari McCarthy, Sarah Brokensha, Sunny Johnson and Zoe Terakes.
Directors Danny and Michael Phlippou’s new movie, Talk to Me, is a horrifying tale of spirits and an embalmed hand which releases them into the body of those brave enough to let them in. It’s a very disturbing movie with violence that is enough to make audiences wince and look away on more than a few occasions. This Australian film is driven by its central character, Mia (Sophie Wilde) who doesn’t seem to have the courage to put a deer out of its misery early in the movie. Mia becomes the driving force of the film and Sophie Wilde (complete with her wildly expressive eyes and short haircut) expertly portrays the character who will go to hell and back (and possibly to hell again) during the course of this movie.
This movie centers on the premise of some young people talking to the aforementioned embalmed hand. This hand releases a spirit into their bodies with (eventually) terrifying results. It’s all for shit and giggles at first as the characters take their phones and record the possessions which leads in one instance to a young man getting intensely licked by a dog. It all seems to be done in good fun but when a character named Riley (Joe Bird) takes a spirit inside him, the result is Riley hitting his head against the table and the wall and basically hitting it to a bloody pulp. He is inches within his life when he is taken to the hospital. Miranda Otto plays Sue, Riley’s mom while Alexandra Jensen serves as his sister, Jade.
Mia’s mother seems to have committed suicide but may not have done it as Mia eventually comes into contact with a spirit pretending to be the mom. Other odd occurrences happen when Mia is caught licking a key male character’s foot. There’s a scene of true terror when Mia is envisioning her mother telling her that her dad Max (Marcus Johnson) is lying to her about the nature of Mia’s mom’s death. Mia takes a pair of scissors and commits a violent act that no longer makes her the innocent person she seemed to be earlier in the movie.
Scenes of extreme violence saturate this movie. When Mia is in the shower with a badly injured Riley, ghoulish things happen which are extreme and unnerving in their excesses. More brilliant moments of horror come when Mia sees an old man in the wheelchair in which she kidnaps Riley. The old man has replaced Riley (in Mia’s mind) but what does he signify? Mia has stolen Riley from the hospital and is determined to come to terms with the fate she has encountered for herself (and possibly for Riley).
Talk to Me‘s biggest accomplishment is its concept. It’s scarier than fu-k, to be sure. Imagine letting a spirit take over your body and then seeing something that would lead you to do everything in your power to harm yourself. Now imagine if it was the spirit, itself, hurting you in another realm–something similar to hell. All of these ideas are toyed with to great effect in the ambitious movie.
There are some problems, though, unfortunately. While Mia is definitely not to be trusted, there is no central character to relate to except potentially the mom played quite well by Otto. This movie could have used another likable character to witness these events. By taking place inside the mind of Mia, we’re never quite sure of what the reality of the situations in the film are unless we analyze them in our minds while events transpire. It’s never easy to decipher what, exactly, is going on. This problem manifests itself in several ways within the movie. Essentially it makes the movie scarier but at the cost of having a key heroic character to trust in.
This issue doesn’t lessen the strength of Talk to Me too much, though. Wilde makes this role her own and commands the screen with fierce intensity throughout. She’s pretty much the whole show here so if you don’t like her and can’t relate to her (which you probably won’t given what she does in the movie), it really makes the movie all the more frustrating but that’s also what makes the movie so compelling and so intriguing throughout.
Talk to Me marks the beginning of great things to come for a couple of gifted filmmakers. Horror movie fans are already crowning them the next “Ari Aster.” The big difference? Talk to Me received a “B+” CinemaScore while Aster’s big first movie, Hereditary got a “D+.” Let’s “hand” it to the Philippous who are officially on the scene as crowd-pleasing artistic horror filmmakers.
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