Talk to Me Review

Reviews Films




Other young and aspiring horror film directors would be forgiven for wanting to pack it in on viewing Danny & Michael Philippou’s Talk to Me. It’s a masterclass in contemporary horror cinema featuring fresh, visceral storytelling and inspiring cinematography. Talk to Me is going to be tough to top in a year that’s already seen the hugely successful Evil Dead Rise.

The RackaRacka lads trade their YouTube camp and spectacle toolbox for more serious fare and it suits them. You may recall Danny & Michael (RackaRacka) from their media controversy involving a car swimming pool in Adelaide.. As well as the undercard Scarce vs Racka boxing match.

Whatever anyone thinks of the past antics of the Philippou boys, this debut feature from the duo knocks it out of the park.

Mild spoilers to follow, skip to the final two paragraphs to go in fresh.

Talk to Me centres around a collection of average, bored urban teens who’ve stumbled upon a new high. Rather than smoke weed or huff nangs, these kids are communing with and being possessed by the dead. Made possible through the power of a sinister relic, a severed arm encased in porcelain, once belonging to a powerful medium. Or were they a satanist? Despite the bravado and showboating, nobody really knows. The teens have created their own little game of high on possession, filming each other and sending it viral. Walking a tightrope between good times and self destruction.

It’s this that attracts Mia, two years out of her mother’s suicide, and she could not fill that void in her heart. Enjoying her time under the influence of the dead, Mia is consumed by urge to chase the accompanying euphoria. All the while prolonged exposure to the dead sows mounting chaos amongst those around her. This sets off a brutal chain of events that sets Mia up to battle her demons, both within and without. Unfortunately for Mia, it’s not a battle that anyone can win.

Part of what makes Talk to Me work so well is the authenticity of the gen Z characters and the non specific Aussie outer city, urban setting. It takes lads to write lads and Danny Philippou with Bill Hinzman deliver this in spades. Every interaction and response between these characters is spot on and relatable, it’s like you’re listening to your own backyard videos. 

Notable outstanding performances from Sophie Wilde (The Portable Door) as Mia, Joe Bird (Rabbit) as Riley, Zoe Terakes (Nine Perfect Strangers) as Hayley and Miranda Otto (The Two Towers) as Sue elevates this film beyond being a cookie cutter teen angst movie. The parallel between the game of Talk to Me and drug use is extremely clear, but the filmmakers have opted to leave it up to interpretation rather than make it explicit, this works in their favour. The film also hits regular beats with some formulaic scares. It is the scares you don’t see coming, of which there are a few, that really bring this home with grit teeth and a compulsion to look away.

There is a lot of unpronounced detail in Talk to Me, begging for repeat viewing. Self respecting horror fans should check it out from July 27th at your local. Last night the Philippou boys appeared in a pre screening clip and sheepishly, albeit tongue in cheek, begged for a good review. They needn’t have worried. Despite the odd narrative lull here and there in its one hour and thirty-five minute run time, Talk to Me is an easy 8/10. This reviewer is an instant fan and very much looking forward to their future project, Bring Her Back.

Luke is writing short stories, screenplays and film reviews when he's not at the day job or looking after the needs of his family. So one Powerball...