Danny Philippou and Michael Philippou (director)
28 July 2023 (released)
26 July 2023
There are times when you feel out of step with everyone. So it is with Talk to Me, an Australian horror film that has been knocking about for a while, received consistently good reviews, a hit at the recent London Sundance Festival and is now going on general UK release.
On the face of it there’s plenty to enjoy and images to joyfully reel back from. A bunch of teens/young adults take part in ritual requiring them to take hold of an embalmed hand covered in writing. A spiritual presence is felt and by calling to them (Talk To Me) the hand holder can be temporary possessed feeling an almost narcotic effect, though there are triggers in place if it gets too intense or goes on too long.
Naturally there’s a problem with one going too far leading to spirits unleashed, deep family secrets revealed and some really nasty horror that has the crowd in a state of panic.
That core is reasonably familiar though very well done with a solid cast featuring the good, the bad and the ugly stalwarts of horror films. The use of social media too was interesting in that it didn’t make much of it: There’s no longer a novelty factor about it, it’s just another form of communication.
For me the problem was specifically the rap elements of the soundtrack that jarred every time they were used. It sounded clumsy within a film that has a visually strong dynamic with some good camera work, including a terrific opening tracking shot and conclusion. Directors Danny and Michael Philippou and co-writer Daley Pearson also conjure up some effective dread manipulating their characters with some glee.
Another matter was the sound design and the crunches of the violence that nearly overwhelmed the grisly visual effects that probably didn’t require that level of bombast to accompany them.
A second watch may reveal more and lessen the irritation of the aforementioned but for the time being this is a solid rather than superior horror film.
Talk To Me will be on general release in UK cinemas from 28 July 2023.