When I caught the trailer for TALK TO ME (2022), an Australian horror film I caught on Netflix, I wasn’t impressed. It honestly looked like your typical teens do something dumb and then things go wrong movie. It is that in part, though it’s hardly dumb. The excellence of this film is in its weird plausibility and in its intense focus on character.
In this movie, Mia (Sophie Wilde) and her group of friends learn how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand. The first phase is to see the spirit. After that, you can invite it to possess you. For the possessed, it’s a real drug rush. For the spectators, it’s hilarious and makes great uploads for social media.
There are easy to make allusions to the latest drug kids are into, and dangerous viral sensations like the Tide Pod Challenge. Obviously, they shouldn’t be playing with dead things, but it’s just too much damn fun, and teens are gonna teen because risks and consequences are dumb. When a spirit claims to be Mia’s mother, who died not long before in an apparent suicide, she becomes obsessed with connecting. This of course results in things going too far, putting them all in jeopardy.
The first half of the film is almost perfect, a happy surprise for this jaded horror fan. We get a lot of time seeing the teens being teens, and the characters are all-out charming and genuine via showing instead of telling, without the usual stereotypes. The whole setup is entirely plausible, and Mia, having latched onto a bestie and her family, is both sympathetic and easy to empathize with.
When things go wrong later on, that’s when the movie stumbles a bit, at least for me. I know people make really bad decisions in horror movies, but yikes. It does make sense for the character, though. The story ties off nicely with a solid ending packed with quite a bit of drama and heartbreak.
Overall, I liked TALK TO ME a lot and would happily recommend it to horror fans looking for something familiar in a very fresh package.
Apparently, a sequel is already in the works.