Australia has produced some impressive horror movies in recent years, most notably the iconic Babadook, which tapped into our deepest fears through deceptively simple techniques. Hoping to repeat that success is Talk To Me, the first feature from short film makers and popular Youtubers Danny and Michael Philippou (collectively known as RackaRacka).
Like so many scary classics, it’s about teenagers up to no good. Specifically, a group of friends who find an embalmed hand that gives them the ability to commune with spirits. The rules are simple: light a candle, hold the hand, and say “Talk To Me”. But whatever you do, don’t let them linger longer than ninety seconds or “they’ll want to stay”.
It’s an exciting experience for the group, but when grieving daughter Mia (Sophie Wilde) tries, something deadly is unleashed. The filmmaker brothers take classic horror themes and transport them to the real world. Mia comes by the séances through social media, where those taking part are filmed by a crowd of smartphones.
This mixture of drama and ‘found footage’ gives the story a freshness that makes the jump scares and creepy moments all the more effective. As is the style with elevated horror, there are also emotions to contend with. Mia trying to find a new family with friends Jade and Riley (Alexandra Jensen and Joe Bird) sets up her vulnerability perfectly. Wilde builds on those foundations to deliver an affecting performance, putting moments of humanity in between the more outlandish possession sequences.
Hollywood star Miranda Otto pops up in a supporting role as Jade and Riley’s mother, furthering her status as a horror genre favourite after success in the Annabelle: Creation and Netflix movie The Silence. A small film with a lot of style, Talk To Me is a modern take on possession horror that introduces exciting talents in front of and behind the camera.