“Talk To Me” is an effective little Horror movie that sneaks up behind you and gives you chills before you know what happened. It is set in the current world of a social media blur that exists with ideas and images that can set you on edge. Call it a study in ‘TikTok Terror’. A small group of young people are taken into a supernatural world by a disembodied hand.
The beginning is upsetting. You see that a young man is looking for his younger brother at a wild party. He finds his brother, but the younger guy seems dazed and totally out-of-sorts. The party breaks up really quick, after there is a gory stabbing and bloody suicide.
Things change immediately as a young woman named Mia (played by Sophie Wilde) is over to see her best friend. Her friend’s name is Jade (played by Alexandra Jensen), but she spends all of her time on the phone with her boyfriend. His name is Daniel (played by Otis Dhanji), and he was at one point Mia’s boyfriend. Mia helps out Jade by going out to pick up Jade’s younger brother.
Mia drives over to pick up Riley (played by Joe Bird) and his friend. Since they are in Australia, they happen to see a poor kangaroo that has been hit by a car. Riley tells Mia that the Little Roo is suffering, and she ought to put it out of its misery. But that is something that Mia cannot do. She is still haunted by the suicide death of her mother a couple of years ago. Since then, she has not been able to talk that much with her father, Max (played by Marcus Johnson).
Riley and Jade’s mother, Sue (played by Miranda Otto), is going out of town for a little while. It is time to do cool party stuff at the house. So, Mia gets a couple of folks with a wacky sense of fun to come over. Joss and Haley (played by Chris Alosio and Zoe Terakes) have the ultimate party-starter. It is a mysterious disembodied hand, encased in a ceramic shield.
Riley and Jade are there, along with Mia and Daniel. Of course, there is also Joss and Haley, and the supernatural creep-feast that is “The Hand”. There are some definitive rules that you need to obey. You need to grasp “The Hand” with yours, and then say “Talk To Me”. Then when you see a disgusting being that might be from the realms of the undead, you say “I Let You In”. Everyone else around you will have the very best time by watching how weird you become.
They will make sure that your time does not go over 90 seconds. What will happen after that? Well, nobody knows — but you can assume that it will not be good. How “The Hand” can communicate with the dead or the undead, or whatever the hell those things are — nobody knows. But Mia finds that when she gets under the spell of “The Hand” — she can talk to and hear her dead mother. So Mia wants to bend the rules.
She decides to stay under the spell of “The Hand” for a lot longer than 90 seconds. She does not know that she might now be the conduit for something very evil. She also lets the much-younger Riley have a chance to use “The Hand”. This is against the wishes of Jade. Haley and Joss are totally cool with it, and they will make sure Riley stays well under 90 seconds.
Of course, nothing goes as planned – and evil spirits take over Riley. They cause him to try and kill himself, and cause himself a lot of bodily harm. Everyone is shocked and distraught. But there were no adults around to tell them how stupid that whole idea would be. Haley and Joss get the hell out of Dodge; they don’t want to be found. Jade calls the authorities and Riley is taken to the hospital.
Mia is upset, because she was the one who first started breaking the rules. Jade is furious that Mia did not stop Riley from getting hurt. Daniel tells her that once the spirits took control, there was nothing they could do. Riley’s mom Sue is not happy with any of them. But all she wants now is for Riley to recover.
For some reason, Mia thinks that using “The Hand” again will help to free Riley from the evil clutches of the deadly spirits. She is terribly wrong of course, but it shows how horrible the security is at that hospital. Mia and Jade and Daniel, along with Joss and Haley — seek out the one person who might know about “The Hand”. But the guy does not want to tell them anything. After all, he survived the stabbing by his younger brother – who is now dead.
Mia still does not communicate with her dad, Max. But she still hears advice from her dead mother. There is an accidental stabbing, and the fate of Riley is looking worse and worse. The bad advice is making Mia doing many things that she would have the common-sense never to do. But getting that evil rubbed off on Mia from “The Hand” is going to make someone really dead…
“Talk To Me” is a movie that gives you a sense of dread and fear. What starts out as a wild and trippy experience becomes more and more like an addictive drug. The two brothers who have directed this movie (Danny and Michael Philippou) have come up with a smart and effective first-time effort. They have previously done many YouTube videos. Danny co-wrote the screenplay, along with Bill Hinzman.
The acting is impressive, and the cinematography sets the mood and delivers some real scares. The only ‘name actor’ to speak of is Miranda Otto. She has a much smaller role than the main character of Mia (Sophie Wilde). Wilde is well-cast as the grief-stricken young woman who reaches out for supernatural assistance, but only gets “The Hand”.
“Talk To Me” is a well-crafted horror movie that seizes on the current craze of video sharing horrible events. Call it a study in ‘TikTok Terror’.
Talk To Me
Directed by: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou
Written by: Danny Philippou, Bill Hinzman
Based on a concept by: Daley Pearson
Starring: Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Dhanji, Miranda Otto, Zoe Terakes, Chris Alosio, Marcus Johnson
Cinematography: Aaron McLisky
Edited by: Geoff Lamb
Music by: Cornel Wilczek
Distributed by: A24
Release date: July 28, 2023
Length: 95 minutes
MPAA rating: R for strong/bloody violent content, some sexual material and language throughout