“Talk to Me”, a Strong Debut From Youtube Legends
Going from the podiums of film festivals to theaters this August, “Talk to Me” directed by Danny and Michael Philipou, also known as RackaRacka on Youtube, acts as an incredibly strong feature debut. With their Youtube repertoire it is no surprise that these young filmmakers have made a gripping story and what may end up being one of the best horror movies of 2023.
The movie follows Mia (Sophie Wilde), Jade (Alexandra Jensen), and Riley (Joe Bird) who are introduced to a new way of conjuring spirits through the use of an embalmed hand. Mia and Riley are both immediately hooked on this new “game” and can’t stop using the hand. Until one unfortunate night when they go too far and start being terrorized by malevolent spirits.
Although its premise has been told before it has never been told like this. The story as a whole stands as an allegory for drug abuse with the embalmed hand being the drug, Mia and Riley both become addicted to using the embalmed hand to see spirits and their lives spiral downward from there. It also deals with elements of grief that exacerbates the problems the characters face. Even with the symbolism in the story it leaps over the pitfalls that many “elevated” horror movies fall into by feeling incredibly personal and focusing on the characters before the symbolism.
“Talk to Me” isn’t overly reliant on jump scares to incite fear in the audience, but rather it tends to lean towards small moments of unease. Many of the scariest moments of this movie won’t be in your face, but in the reflection of a mirror or the shadows in a room. The horror in this is akin to something like 2018’s “Hereditary” because of its slow burn that culminates in a shocking finale.
The directing, writing, and acting are all top notch as well throughout the entirety of the film. It exudes an aura of near mastery through the directing of shots and the performances of the actors. This is a movie that calls your attention to the dark reality of the characters and doesn’t let go of you until the credits start to roll.
Using their previous experience on Youtube the directors create some seriously top notch special effects. The movie is very gory and many of those scenes are jaw droppingly horrific because of the masterful effects work done by their trusted team of special effects artists. The makeup for the different spirits shown during the beginning of the movie almost look too real to be makeup effects. With a budget of 4.5 million dollars it is very clear where a good amount of that money went.
With top notch effects, amazing directing, and a gripping story it is no wonder why it is such a fast hit in the horror community. If you are looking for a movie to terrify you or you are just a regular horror movie fan you will not want to miss this one while it’s in theaters.
Director Danny Philipou, Michael Philipou
Starring Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Dhanji, Zoe Terakes, Chris Alosio, Miranda Otto, Marcus Johnson
My Rating ★★★★