20th Oct2023

‘Talk To Me’ Blu-ray Review

by Matthew Turner

Stars: Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Dhanji, Miranda Otto, Zoe Terakes, Chris Alosio, Marcus Johnson, Alexandria Steffensen, Ari McCarthy | Written by Bill Hinzman, Daley Pearson, Danny Philippou | Directed by Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou

Adelaide teens take an occult party game too far in this terrific debut from Australian YouTube celebrities (and twin brothers) Danny and Michael Philippou. Inventive, creepy and confidently directed, it’s one of the best horror films of the year.

After a deeply disturbing prologue, shot in an impressive single take, the film centres on Mia (Sophie Wilde), who’s grown more and more distant from her father (Marcus Johnson) since the traumatic loss of her mother, two years previously. Accordingly, Mia spends most of her time at her best friend Jade’s (Alexandra Jensen) house, which is slightly awkward, because Jade is dating Mia’s ex-boyfriend, Daniel (Otis Dhanji).

When the teens attend a high school party dominated by mean-spirited Hayley (Zoe Terakes), Mia volunteers for an occult game that involves holding an embalmed hand, summoning the spirits of the dead and then becoming briefly possessed, with the group timing the possession and pulling each other out after ninety seconds. The result is unexpectedly thrilling, and soon Mia and her friends are practically addicted to the rush, but they’re woefully unprepared for what happens when one of the spirits overstays their welcome.

Talk To Me is structured to perfection, with the Philippous displaying a finely-tuned sense of timing and escalation. This is especially apparent in their use of a montage sequence to suggest the kids essentially over-indulge in the game – which is already a sensation on social media – over the course of a few days or weeks, before things suddenly get really, REALLY nasty.

Similarly, the script cleverly holds back on Mia’s real motives – initially her actions look like desperate attempts at thrill-seeking escapism, or wanting to get in with the cool kids, but her actual reasons for seeking to contact the dead have an unexpectedly powerfully emotional impact. There’s also a thinly veiled critique of people doing crazy things for internet likes, to the point where they might as well have had Miranda Otto (as one of the parents) intone, “It’s all fun and games until one of you gets possessed by a demon and ends up in hospital.”

Wilde is excellent as Mia, playing her as a messed-up tangle of contradictions, simultaneously reckless and heartbreakingly sympathetic. There’s also strong support from Joe Bird as Jade’s vulnerable younger brother Riley, whose desire to join in with the older kids leads to disaster.

Talk To Me is further heightened by some exceptional sound design work, a striking score from Cornel Wilczek and Aaron McLisky’s accomplished cinematography, all of which combine to create an increasingly tense, chilling atmosphere.

Given that the film comes with its own set of distinct rules and rituals (the title comes from the words you say to the spirit as you grasp the disembodied hand), it’s entirely possible that this could become a profitable franchise. Either way, the film finishes on a flourish, with one of the best endings in recent memory.

In short, this is a superbly made debut that marks out both Philippous as serious horror talents to watch. Their next film can’t come soon enough, even if it ends up being Talk To Me Too.

Blu-ray Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary with Directors Danny & Michael Philippou
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette
  • Delete Scenes
  • Interviews

**** 4/5

Talk To Me will be released on UK DVD, Blu-ray, 4K UHD and digital platforms on October 20th, courtesy of Altitude Film Distribution.


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