Talk to Me

Talk to Me ★★★★

Against a scape of what feels like one-off, mostly forgettable post-Aster horrors, Talk to Me clinches that fourth star to stand out as a promising original.

Straight away, it's a good time at the movies, with a story that gets going and doesn't meander. There's something to be said, also, for how it sticks the landing on the theme of trauma, by now a trope in the genre — it feels organic here, not hackneyed; in real service of the general conceit and the main character, played brilliantly by Sophie Wilde. Talk to Me examines loss and suicide through the horror prism in a way more films ought to do, with respect, restraint, and some good old Aussie chutzpah. The relationship between Wilde's Mia and her surrogate little bro Riley is resonant enough to really mean something when shit hits the fan and some kiddies start getting royally fucked up in true A24 fashion. The ending is refreshingly bleak, too.

The whole setup of zoomers playing seance provides salient commentary on that generation's curious abstinence from sex and drugs in favor of a concerning cursory investment in the supernatural. To take something as life-altering as possession and reduce it down to the latest TikTok trend is at once satirical and evocative of today's doomed reality.

And major props for the art direction and practical effects here, with a particularly gnarly depiction of a hellworld that feels like a blend of Clive Barker and Society. Disgusting in the best possible way. Toe-suckin' fun!

I'm trying to ignore the fact that this is going to be franchised, starting with the idiotically titled Talk 2 Me and almost surely followed by something even dumber like Talk to M3. Here's to hoping they handle the sequels as deftly as this one. I let them in, I guess.

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