A bunch of teens stumble upon a mystical object which – upon performing a certain ritual – grants them the ability to connect with the spirit realm and get temporarily possessed. This evidently provides an incredible rush and therefor quickly becomes something short of an addiction but of course, things go awry.
On paper this would seem like your typical possession horror flick and indeed, Talk To Me isn’t re-inventing the wheel here, but it can’t be denied that what twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou manage to achieve with their feature-length directorial debut is nothing short of remarkable. These guys clearly know their craft and execute it with tremendous passion. This movie is both amazingly fresh and eerily creepy and I had an absolute blast.
First off, we get a phenomenal protagonist in Mia. Not only is she wonderfully well-written with an interesting family dynamic, authentic-feeling character traits and a very realistic portrayal of teenage behaviour, but novice actress Sophie Wilde does a fantastic job in bringing her to life. She displays a wide range of emotions with aplomb and is seemingly comfortable to explore some pretty dark and disturbing places without ever crossing over into ridicule. Hers is a truly magnetic performance and if you ask me, she is bound for greatness. Most of the side-characters were excellent really, with sufficiently fleshed personalities making the viewer care about their fates when shit starts hitting the fan. I applaud the effort put into this aspect of the film as quite often lacklustre writing is what discerns a mediocre horror movie from a compelling one. It’s not all about the scares and the gore, yo. It’s the characters. Always the characters.
Next is the conceptual strength of the simple premise. The context in which the malicious artefact is discovered and utilized is vague enough that certain aspects are taken in good faith but at the same time the few rules and conditions that do get an explicit mention are solid and consistent and the characters react in an age-appropriate and rational manner suited to their respective roles in the story. Not once did I feel the urge to clench my fist towards the heavens in frustration from stupid decision-making or implausible conveniences, as I often find myself doing when watching horror movies. No, the script flows organically here and I was on board from the very first scene till the movie’s finale.
Finally, despite the horrific nature of the events that occur and the gruesome and disturbing imagery on screen with enough goose bumps-inducing fucked up shit to open up your adrenaline flood gates till the credits come rolling, Talk To Me was simply loads of fun. There’s the youthful energy of the main characters, the efficient music choices and editing throughout (keep an eye out for the superb montage of their possession-binge fest halfway in) and a fleshed-out interpersonal drama at the core of it all which just creates a powerful springboard for all the sinister stuff. I just watched this movie in theatres and honestly would have no issue whatsoever watching it again right away if asked.