A group of teens get more than they bargained for when they attend possession parties featuring a haunted embalmed hand in Talk to Me. Unable to handle the grief over her mother's death, Mia (Sophie Wilde) has been staying at the house of her best friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen), who live with her younger brother Riley (Joe Bird) and mother Sue (Miranda Otto). Mia convinces Jade to sneak out with Riley and Jade's boyfriend Daniel (Otis Dhanji) to a possession party run by Hailey (Zoe Terakes) and Joss (Chris Alosio), videos from which have become viral on social media.
Despite being sceptical that the possessions are legit, Mia volunteers to participate in the ritual, which involves holding a ceramic covered embalmed hand of a medium and saying “Talk to Me.” Mia finds the experience of being possessed for 90 seconds exhilarating and a second possession party is hosted the next night in Jade's basement. However, something goes horribly wrong and in the aftermath Mia finds herself haunted by spirits without the need of the hand.
Talk to Me Synopsis
Talk to Me is a supernatural horror film and the directorial debut for Australian YouTube sensations Danny and Michael Philippou. The film provides a fresh, and predominantly secular, take on possession horror films as a group of teens make a game out of interacting with a haunted embalmed hand, without them full taking into consideration the consequences of messing with the spiritual realm. The film features a cast of relatively unknown Australian actors, led by Sophie Wilde as Mia, a 17-year-old trying to escape from the grief of her mother Rhea's (Alexandria Steffensen) death and the resulting depression by her father Max (Marcus Johnson).
My Thoughts on Talk to Me
The opening minutes of Talk to Me sets the stage for the unflinching horror present within Talk to Me, as an apparent murder-suicide illustrates what happens when fooling around with this haunted hand goes horribly wrong. Similar to Ari Aster's Hereditary, also distributed by A24, Talk to Me features an inciting incident so sudden and brutal that it has a very real chance of giving viewers nightmares. Even without the brutal violence, Talk to Me is a film that gets under your skin with the black-eyed possessions of the characters or ghosts suddenly showing up out of nowhere.
Without a doubt Talk to Me will be seen as the breakthrough role for actress Sophie Wild, who shows great dedication to her role as Mia, particularly when the character is possessed. In the aftermath of a horrible incident, Mia begins to see the ghost of her mother, who warns her that the circumstances surrounding her death might not be what they appear. This builds up to the film's shocking, yet somewhat ambiguous climax, including what is perhaps a perfect ending.
It helps with the horror of Talk to Me that the majority of the cast is make up of young and unknown Australian actors, who are not yet familiar to audiences. The exception to this is Miranda Otto (The Lord of the Rings) as Jane's mother Sue, who apart from Mia's father Max, is the only adult character central the the plot. Early in the film Sue fakes naïveté at Jade and Mia's participation in the possession parties, so there is a level of guilt in the character later on when things go awry.
Altogether, Talk to Me is a film that is truly intense and scary at times, which would make a film like Hereditary seem like a walk in the park. The film is a successful debut for Danny and Michael Philippou and it will be interesting to where their career goes from here.