Review by Cliff Homewood

My dealer got in touch, informing there’s a very good product coming out, had great word of mouth, and told me a location to meet.  The cinema and Talk to Me is a nasty ass horror film.

Talk to Me is Australian, Producer Kristina Ceyton previously produced The Babadook.  Its Sundance Premiere started a bidding war with A24 winning distribution rights.

Directed by twins Danny and Michael Philippous who were previously behind memes (671) Ronald McDonald Chicken Store Massacre – YouTube & (671) Harry Potter VS Star Wars 2 – YouTube.  They cast talented unknowns to make the film feel real, although Wentworth watchers will recognise Zoe Terakes.

“There was this footage that I saw of this neighbour of mine,” Danny, also a co-writer, states. “He was experimenting with drugs for the first time.  He was on the floor having a really negative reaction to what he was taking, and all his friends that were there with him weren’t helping him though, they were filming him and laughing at him.  That was a really big inspiration point.”  This alas is human nature.  Unlike films where everybody helps, in reality most ignore, or these days record.  ‘Look what’s happening to me’.  This was discovered in 1964, when 28-year-old Kitty Genovese was raped and murdered outside of her apartment building.  There were a dozen witnesses, but no-one came to her aid.  A 70-year-old woman came out and cradled her dying body in her arms after.  It’s known as the bystander effect.  Life can be harsh, this film conveys that.

This story is personal, their mother suffered from depression and grandmother committed suicide.  Danny on their fears, “It’s a real personal story, because this happened to them it’s gonna happen to you as well.  It was always really personal things that frightened us that we tried to put on the screen.”

Let me lend you a hand…

Talk to Me is a supernatural horror revolving around a ceramic hand, as an Ouija-like conduit being used at parties.  “We were wondering what the object could be…” said Michael, “The film was all about connections – real and false.  The hand is like a physical representation of the themes of the film.”

The problem with the personal approach is objectivity, your story may not be explained enough.  Talk to Me is awesome when you talk horror, it makes you scared to see what’s happening next.  It does not go for jump scares, preferring to show the repulsive instead, having one particularly gory scene.  Plotwise, has a good story with raw emotion.  It posits questions throughout, never providing answers to what’s real and what’s false.  You leave the film knowing what happened but not why or how except at the surface level.  You care about the relationships, there are unanswered questions in all relationships, for an audience to feel satisfied they desire some answers.  We don’t know if all entities are malevolent, it’s inconsistent, they may not care as designed for thrills.  You remain as confused as the characters.

May be this generation’s Sixth Sense with a sense of dread instead of jump scares.  Is abhorrent in its revelations so great sound, acting and make up.  Has a trite ending.

Ultimately it depends on what you want.  If you desire a good solid horror film that’s real and intense in places.  Talk to Me.  If you want questions answered prepare to be dissatisfied.  For a film called Talk to Me, it ironically doesn’t communicate enough.  Some story beats are not fully resolved leaving you suspecting it’s just a horror vehicle.