A24 strikes again with another horror film for the ages, this time involving possession as a party trick.
Talk to Me is a creepy, sometimes funny and sometimes downright horrifying take on the possession horror genre that, to its credit, picks a dark path and sticks to it.
Too many horror films are unwilling to go full-on bleak and absorb that R rating. Not this one.
Sophie Wilde is Mia, a depressed young adult and social outcast looking to pick up the pieces after the loss of her mother. Seeking to get Mia back on the right social track, some friends bring her to a party where everything seems normal—until one of them brings out a statue of a hand, and instructs Mia to hold that hand while saying, “Talk to me.”
Turns out that hand has special powers that not only allow you to talk to the dead, but to invite the dead into your body for a temporary possession. Sometimes those possessions come off as a very intense thrill ride; sometimes those possessions lead to much more complicated matters. By the film’s end, the party participants, once cackling with delight, are mostly wishing they’d stuck with skunk weed and boxed wine as party favors.
The visuals in this film, directed by Danny and Michael Philippou, are top-notch. The ghosts are terrifying, and the ensuing possessions are well-acted. Wilde, a relative unknown, is especially good at wild-eyed, scary smiling possession antics.
Get set for what will surely be a string of yet-to-be-announced sequels—each one worse than the one before it. Before those sequels ruin everything, let’s take this time to remember that the original Talk to Me was, in fact, a unique horror film that was visually masterful and supremely well-acted.