The Australian-made movie definitely pleases horror lovers.
Talk to me… A Australian-maaade movie…It is the first feature film of 30-year-old Australian twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, who are originally YouTubers, and they achieved incredible success. The director brothers’ YouTube history spans approximately 10 years. Nowadays, the YouTubers who are criticized by many circles and even criticized by Okan Bayülgen in our country, saying “influencers are all trash, they are all pathetic. They are poor people trying to make money”, are such a qualified work in the name of cinema, I know those who work and work in the same medium. It was a pleasing development for me and for myself.
Be sure to watch the YouTube videos that the directors publish on their YouTube channels, reflecting the excitement of the Sundance Film Festival, which generally features independent films in the USA. You can share their great joy and be touched 😉 (Let’s not forget that Danny, who dyed his hair blonde, is both the scriptwriter and one of the directors of the film, while Michael, whose hair is in its original color, is only one of the directors of the film.)
When it comes to horror cinema, unfortunately, your chances of encountering many successful films every year are not very high. Horror cinema is a genre that is generally shot on a low budget and is very difficult to achieve success unless you have a creative script and concept. Therefore, when you experience examples that add value to this genre, such as talk to me, you can enjoy watching more. Of course, what I say is valid for the audience who loves genre cinema and tries to watch almost every horror movie released. Otherwise, there is not much that interests the audience who does not like the genre.
Let’s say it from the beginning; Talk to Me is one of the best horror movies not only of this year, but also of the post-pandemic period, that is, of the last 4 years. Frankly, I have been able to watch more than a handful of successful horror movies in the last three years. For this reason, the movie will have a special place for me.
The sequel of the film, which was released at the Sundance Film Festival and entered the American theaters strongly, has already received approval. A24 production company, which purchased the American release rights of the film immediately after its festival success, will also be the producer of the sequel. With the phrase “coming soon”, we learned that the name of the sequel on the x platform will be talk 2 me. I hope we can see this movie in the fall of 2024 without cooling off.
Now let’s move on to the spoiler-free review of the movie.
Supernatural/metaphysical metaphors, an essential element of the greatest horror films of all time, are simple and very effective. The main concept of the movie is that a group of young people hold a necromancy session through a mummified hand whose whereabouts and origins are unknown, and in this session, they use their own bodies as a temporary host for the soul of a previously deceased person for a maximum of 90 seconds. tells.
Movies about evil spirits taking over people’s bodies actually constitute one of the most well-known themes of horror cinema. The most well-known example of this is, of course, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead series, which we have been watching with admiration since the early 80s. The 50-year-old great masterpiece The Exorcist was also about the devil who took over the body of a little girl. We can multiply examples like this. However, the difference in how Talk to Me deals with the subject of the possession of the innocent body by the evil spirit stems from this; Young people hold certain sessions and consciously take these evil spirits into their bodies temporarily. The important detail they discovered is that the separation of the body from the soul must be done within 90 seconds at the latest. So there is a conscious choice here. This is exactly the main feature that distinguishes Talk to Me from other films.
In the very striking short opening scene of the film, the character named Cole is looking for his brother named Duckett at a house party. When he finds out that Duckett has locked himself in the room, he breaks the door open and takes Duckett out. However, “Possessed Duckett”, cursed by the mummified hand, first stabs his brother and then commits suicide in front of everyone. The scene is a kind of foreshadowing to the events that will happen later in the movie. We later understand that Duckett gives El to his friend Joss before committing suicide. It’s a mystery where El came to Duckett.
The main character of the movie, 17-year-old high school student Mia, witnesses through social media (Snapchat) the strange faces of young people who are having a house party, and because she wonders what is going on, she calls her friend Jade and her brother Riley from these sessions. He convinces him to take it to someone. In the first session, Mia is seated in front of the severed hand and a candle is lit next to the hand to extinguish the spirit and bring the spirit back. When Mia shakes his hand and says “talk to me”, a terrible looking dead person appears in front of her. I looked at him and said “I’m letting you in.” When he says this, this evil spirit enters Mia’s body and the spirit begins to use her body as a host. In order for the spirit to be expelled within 90 seconds, Mia’s friends have to break contact with the mummy and extinguish the candle. After the spirit is successfully expelled, Mia’s first words are “That was amazing.” Mia enjoys this experience so much that offering her body to another soul and the feeling it gives her gives her extraordinary pleasure. In many parts of the film, Mia mentions that the experience she had was tremendous and that the pleasure she experienced was of an originality that could not be replaced by any other pleasure.
Let’s take a break here and talk about some indirect drawbacks of the movie for viewers under the age of 18.
The movie is a movie that people under a certain age should never watch because of the very disturbing and scary scenes it contains. I don’t know what the age limit is in our country, but abroad it is between 13 and 18, it varies from country to country. The drawback of the movie, other than being scary, is that the pleasure taken in the spirit-evoking session is related to drug use and dangerous addictions in the subtext. The main character, Mia, talks about the pleasure she got from this session many times and inevitably comes to mind the ayahuasca rituals performed in South America, the “nitrogen protoxide” balloon filled with laughing gas that makes you hallucinate, and marijuana, which accompanies party houses almost everywhere in the world. Describes its use. The fact that the active participants of the soul calling session took videos saying “how are we high” and shared them on their social media accounts actually confirms the situation. Therefore, the peak state of the film’s sense of curiosity, caused by forbidden/illegal and life-threatening experiences, shows us that the text of the film is only for adults who have come of age. Of course, this is a subtext reading, so unless you are a cinephile who has watched thousands of movies and can read/analyze movies, you will not understand this while watching the movie. For this reason, I do not criticize the film negatively because it has such a concept. However, I can only talk about the necessity of complying with the age limit and somehow avoiding the attraction of “that extraordinary pleasure of the dangerous and forbidden”, which can penetrate the subconscious of children without them being aware of it.
Back to the movie
After Mia’s captivating experience, the group becomes addicted to the necromancy sessions and makes these sessions a habit. They meet on many evenings, different people allow different evil spirits to take over their bodies, and social media posts increase the pleasure experienced. Until a young child wants to experience it.
Mia’s friend Jade’s brother Riley, who is 13 years old and the youngest member of the group, wants to have this experience. Because one night, while Mia was telling Riley about her experience, she stated that her perceptions were completely opened, as if she was astrally traveling in the passenger seat and above the clouds. Unfortunately, these descriptions inevitably create a strong sense of curiosity in Riley. Riley, who was initially rejected by her sister Jade, somehow shortens the time (50 seconds), this time secretly consents to Mia, and begins the ritual with Mia’s approval. The terrible outcome of the ritual performed with the little boy is that the summoned spirit enters the body of Riley, Mia’s mother, who committed suicide 2 years ago. Mia, who can communicate with her dead mother, violates the 50 seconds and the evil spirit that comes refuses to leave Riley. When the 90 second rule is violated, Riley seriously injures himself and the spirit uses this small mansion and throws itself into the dimension of the living. This session ends in a disaster and Riley is rushed to the hospital. What is actually being said here is, please do not let children watch this movie. Because this scene really disturbs and tenses the audience.
It cannot be done without mentioning the jump scare scenes used in full measure in the movie.
Jump scare (scenes that present an image of fear to the audience with a sudden loud sound and make them jump from their seats), which can tire and bore the audience because it is generally used a lot, was used almost perfectly in Talk to Me. There are not many jump scare scenes in the movie, and when it hits the screen, the tension is at its peak. The directors should also be congratulated for this.
In order to save Riley, whose treatment continues in the hospital, from this spirit that haunts him, the group led by Mia finds Cole, who survived his own brother’s attack at the beginning of the movie, and asks what they should do. Cole also tells them that they need to take the hand back to Riley, they can do a new session and exorcise the spirit from Riley’s body. While Riley is having another session at the hospital, the spirit of a little girl appears in the hospital room and shows Mia the torture that Riley is undergoing in a purgatory-like place.
Mia, who lost her mother, has a problematic relationship with her father.
Therefore, she tries to satisfy her need for family love with her friend Jade’s family and Jade’s lover Daniel. Her father reads the note left by her mother Rhea to Mia, who thinks that her mother’s death two years ago occurred because she accidentally took too much sleeping pills. In the note, Mia sadly realizes that her mother left a suicide note behind her and abandoned Mia and her father. But Rhea’s spirit suddenly appears and tells Mia that the person who read the note is not her father and that she should not believe him. I have to say that I enjoyed this scene, where the tension was almost at its peak. It was a scene that I was looking for in a good horror movie but could not find easily. The possessed version of her father enters Mia’s room, where she locks the door out of fear, breaks the door and attacks Mia. However, when Mia’s real father, Max, enters the room, the ghost suddenly disappears and Mia accidentally sticks scissors into her father’s neck, seriously injuring him there.
Mia, who is completely controlled by her dead mother Rhea, kidnaps Riley from the hospital with the instructions she received from the woman. Rhea tells Mia that the only way to save Riley from purgatory is to kill her. Mia, who brought Riley, whom she kidnapped in a wheelchair, to the side of the highway, suddenly changes her mind as she is about to throw the child into the oncoming traffic. Since he feels that killing Riley will result in him being completely taken over by the spirits, Riley throws himself into the oncoming traffic instead and Mia is violently hit by the vehicle. When Mia opens her eyes, she sees that she has been transferred to the hospital and that Riley’s older sister, Jade, has saved her and that the child has fully recovered. After a while, we realize that Mia saved Riley, but this time she herself fell into purgatory. While Mia is running from place to place in the hospital, the lights are dimmed and her father gets into the elevator without seeing her, and Mia is suddenly left in a pitch black environment. A candle light breaks the darkened scene and Mia sees a hand reaching out to her. Reaching for her hand, Mia sees 7-8 men in the room, and the man to whom she extends her hand says “talk to me” in another language and then says “I’m letting you in” in English. and the movie ends with an incredible ending, leaving the audience speechless. This is such a well-written ending that you are blown away by the perfection of the film’s script and editing. You finish the movie with the feeling that the taste of the dessert you devoured at the patisserie remains on your palate.
At the end of the movie, we understand that Mia could not survive that accident and fell into the land of the dead, her own purgatory. Now he too will be on the other side, he has turned into an evil spirit. The fact that the people who communicate with him at the end of the movie speak another language brings two options to mind. Either there is more than one of those mummy hands, or the owner of the mummy hand, Mia’s friend Joss, gave the hand to others or sold it. Of course, since the movie ends magnificently and opens the door to a sequel, we will see the answers to all these questions in the second movie, called Talk 2 Me, which is already confirmed to be a series.
At the end of the spoilery part, let’s talk about a few movies that are related to the movie.
The 1981 Oliver Stone movie The Hand is the first of these. The severed hand metaphor in the movie has been used in horror productions before. Those looking for a well-known movie can also watch this horror movie, starring master actor Michael Caine.
Wednesday (series), which was recently released on Netflix and broke viewing records. Hands have a lot of importance in human life. because it is an organ that is also used for communication when you cannot speak. Hands have such an effect that they make one feel as if they carry a life separate from the body to which they are attached. Therefore, it was inevitable that they would be used in horror productions.
Sam Raimi’s legendary series The Evil Dead is, of course, one of the main inspirations of the film. The incredible struggle experienced by Ashley, the lead character of the Evil Dead series, and her own hand, both in terms of the character whose soul has been captured, are among the great horror cinema scenes that come to our mind. For those who love Sam Raimi’s horror movies, it is undeniable that this movie is perfect.
The film also has similarities with the 1990 thriller called Flatliners. In that movie starring Julia Roberts and Kiefer Sutherland, medical students were conducting dangerous experiments to experience death. There is an intersection with the dangerous game in talk to me.
We also remember the 2001 horror classic The Others, starring Australian star Nicole Kidman. In that movie, both sides (the land of the dead / the land of the living) fascinated us with a perfect scenario. We also experienced these two different dimensions in talk to me.
The fact that the lead character of the movie is black and the photo of the crying actress on the posters may lead you to think that the movie is similar to the great movie of 2017, Get Out. However, the film differs greatly from Get Out in terms of its main text. Their only similarity is that both films are in the horror genre, nothing more.
Before we forget, we can understand that the movie is an Australian production from the injured kangaroo scene right at the beginning of the movie. Of course, what comes to mind here is Fargo, the magnificent production of the Coen brothers. Just as the injured gazelle there changes the course of events, the injured kangaroo here is also important. We also get happy by listening to the legendary song Chandelier by the great Australian voice Sia, even if only briefly. <3
(In the movie, the character Jade, whose phone rings loudly and whose melody she chooses (crazy frog) is terrible, leaves her mark on the movie with this disgraceful choice of ring tone. Every time the character’s phone rings, we understand that a different trouble is approaching. It rings non-stop throughout the movie, as if she is trolling the movie. This terrible ringtone of Jade’s is annoying as hell.)
Brothers Danny and Michael are a duo that dominates the spirit of the times and therefore social media, due to their past work. How to make a modern horror movie inspired by the past? They managed to make a movie like ‘s thesis work.
Also, the movie is 90 minutes straight. Therefore, the movie does not give you the opportunity to get bored. The tempo never slows down. Now, when I see such a short-run movie, I feel extra happy because it is audience-friendly. Anyway, a horror movie being longer than two hours is generally not a good choice.
Sophie Wilde, the leading lady of the movie, elevates the movie as a perfect example of casting. Wilde will always be remembered for this role, and I have to say that he deserves all the praise for his performance that does full justice to his role.
Especially horror genre enthusiasts should definitely watch this wonderful horror movie, which will be released in the cinemas of our country on Friday, September 1, 2023. Let’s end the article by saying “definitely don’t miss” this probably the best/successful horror movie of 2023, which has received a lot of praise from critics.