28th May2024

‘Tarot’ Review

by James Rodrigues

Stars: Harriet Slater, Adain Bradley, Jacob Batalon, Avantika, Humberly González, Wolfgang Novogratz, Larsen Thompson  | Written and Directed by Spenser Cohen, Anna Halberg

Adapted from Nicholas Adams’ 1992 novel, the much better titled Horrorscope, Tarot is the feature directorial debut from writers/directors Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg. The story opens at a rented mansion inhabited by a group of college students celebrating a birthday, although tensions are high due to a recent break-up within the group. When they run out of beer, the group search the mansion for hidden alcohol only to discover strange tarot cards within the basement.

Despite saying that it is a sacred rule of Tarot to not use someone else’s deck, Hayley (Harriet Slater) agrees to use the strange deck to read everyone else’s horoscopes. One by one, their horoscopes come true as they meet their ends, with it becoming clear that the group are in a race against death to stop the curse inflicted upon them by the readings.

Promising signs appear across early sequences which sell this group’s relationships, be it intercutting different views over Hayley’s break-up with Grant (Adain Bradley), or a humorous segment involving friends becoming engrossed with a podcast. While it may not be anything revolutionary, the performers sell their bond rather well, yet the promise bizarrely diminishes once the characters start getting killed off.

While the readings offer warnings and heavy-handed hints towards the character’s fates, what promises to be Final Destination-esque fun with the occult feels disregarded for a more algorithmic bore. Ideas and sequences do work, particularly involving a Magician portrayed by the ever-effective James Swanton, yet the journey there feels engineered in disappointingly foolish ways.

The largest missed opportunity comes in the set-up hints, as the readings offer clues for how the characters can avoid their demises. Unfortunately, this is barely mentioned and quickly thrown aside in favour of frustrating decisions which are demanded by the plot. Add to that laughs which fall flat, a messy third act, and a mind-boggling last-minute appearance, and a reading is not needed to consider Tarot a missed opportunity.

*½  1.5/5

Tarot is out now.


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