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Talk To Me ★★★★



Director: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou

Cast: Sophie Wilde, Miranda Otto, Marcus Johnson, Chris Alosio, Otis Dhanji, Zoe Terakes, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird

Release: July 28th, 2023

In this relentlessly paced world that we live in. We are no strangers to ‘crazes’ sweeping social media channels like wildfire. At the surface level? A seemingly acceptable addiction. Perhaps underestimating the underlying sinister power, the output these platforms pedal can possess.

Reeling devotees in by establishing themselves as outlandish YouTube pranksters Rackaracka. Danny and Michael Philippou now look to play on our fears on the big screen, with a skin-crawling directorial debut breathing fresh life into a decrepit horror sub-genre, reframing possession for a younger demographic that clamours for attention.

With a startling opening gambit that would even have Ghostface wincing and contemplating whether to put their precious Stab franchise to bed. Talk To Me thrusts us into the mix of a group of Aussie teens, fixated by a ceramic hand viral video conjuring spirits, with disturbing results.

Unsurprisingly in an environment strongly associated with cliquey peer pressure. Many succumb to its twisted charm, naive to the potential consequences. Prompting most concern are the actions of Sophie Wilde’s Mia, who is already in the vice grip of unpalatable grief. Their strong connection with brother/sister pairing Jade (Alexandra Jensen) and Riley (Joe Bird) soon put them under hefty strain, rocking up to an impromptu house party catalysing hellish happenings.

Usually, whether drinking or taking drugs, our formative years are littered with exposure to substances that can have us under the influence—angrily acting out as we’re stuck in a perpetual cycle of self-harm, making a mockery of their consistent glorification. The Phillipou brothers subvert derivative genre tropes by coalescing our inner demons with the otherworldly kind and fuelling a fresh addiction for a broader audience to revel in, delivering intoxicating highs and frightful lows along the way for its panic-stricken ensemble, who are seeking answers to questions that are far beyond this existence.

Those doses of reality wake us up blunt in their delivery, dialled up by the film’s thunderous sound design that offers killer moments of syncopation as the victim’s bodies are slowly bent at will. Their contortions influence camera choices of its directorial pairing, with a selection of deliberately slow rotations alongside taut, immersive mid-shots dominating.

For a Tiktok/Snapchat generation with a fleeting attention span, acclimatised to lazy cinematic jump scares. They are constantly immersed in short-form content, perhaps leaving them desensitised to the real-world violence they’re greeted by. The film seems hellbent on creating demented imagery that genuinely leaves a mark, mostly succeeding in its objective.

Its final flurry of genre thrills slightly falters in its admirable ambition. Much credit should go to its committed cast, whose instances of immaturity, anxiety and desperation for their fifteen seconds of fame. Help maintain a grounded sense of authenticity within this otherwise heightened premise. They are tasked with conveying the bulk of the emotional beats. Sophie Wilde is the standout here, with her tragic portrayal of Mia working through the levels of her torment, keeping us on our toes in one instance.

Brilliantly orchestrated with a palpable sense of dread coursing through its narrative vein. Talk To Me is so worth letting in. Just make sure to leave the door on the latch…

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