Talk to Me review – an Evil Dead for the Snapchat generation | Horror films

Ja twilight palette of It happens the night responds to the teen-friendly curses of Ringu and the cackling demonic infestations of diabolical death in this playful feature debut from Australian twins Danny and Michael Philippou. A sharp mix of psychological reality (mourning, guilt), potent actuality (addiction, dependence), and spooky invention (a gateway to the afterlife) creates a smartly entertaining chiller that packs a kick that will please the crowd without succumbing to a quiet, quiet, LOUD jump. – be afraid of clichés.

An unexpected festive opening (as surprising as Shout) and a harrowing encounter with a kangaroo (“He’s crying, you can’t leave him like that”) set the stage perfectly for what’s to come. Two years after her mother’s untimely death, 17-year-old Mia (Sophie Wilde) has withdrawn from her father, preferring to hang out with her best friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen), who lives with her mother, Sue (Miranda Otto). , and his younger brother Riley (Joe Bird). When a Snapchat video of classmates using a creepy ceramic hand to conjure evil spirits goes viral, Mia can’t wait to get into the game: grab the haunted limb, say the magic words “Talk to me” and “I let you in”. and become possessed by a dead soul – if only for a minute.

It’s a thrill that Mia finds completely intoxicating, lifting her out of the here and now, temporarily erasing her underlying sadness. Young Riley also wants to try, but Jade refuses – only for Mia to ignore his objections, with disastrous consequences. Distracted by what she believes to be her dead mother’s voice, Mia lets Riley stay under her spell for too long, unleashing a self-destructive force that will drag them all to hell.

There’s plenty of familiar demon-eyed theatrics and visceral physical shock in Talk volumesome of which will make you shiver and scream. But beneath the chilling (and sometimes derivative) surface there are darker forces at work, echoing real-life videos of children filming themselves on bad drug trips and then posting them online. Like Bill Gunn’s 1973 “Black Vampire” cult classic Ganja & Hessthe supernatural elements of Talk volume may be its biggest selling point, but it’s the down-to-earth aspects that bite. Despite all the film’s occult trappings, the Philippous (along with co-writer Bill Hinzman) are more interested in telling a story about young people riddled with anxiety, seeking escape in dangerously illicit rituals that push them out of their heads. – literally. No wonder the film’s title sounds less like an incantation than a cry for help.

After making a splash via their DIY action/comedy/horror YouTube channel RackaRacka, the Philippous (who both teamed up on Jennifer Kent’s groundbreaking Oz cooler The Babadook) easily transition into the feature film format, retaining the anarchic energy of their early online work while embracing the more complex arcs of character-driven drama. Kudos to cinematographer Aaron McLisky, who shot the acclaimed shorts nursery rhymes (2018) and kilter (2020), and which permeates Talk to me (which also draws inspiration from a short script by Daley Pearson about demonic possession as a high) with an eerie mix of slippery calm and screaming horror.

An image of bloody hand-washing conjures up the guilt-ridden Shakespearean specter of Lady Macbeth, while the sight of fresh blood licked up on a tiled floor recalls a shocking moment from Guillermo del Toro’s feature debut, Chronos. But despite all the nods to the genre, it truly remains its own film – one that isn’t afraid to speak to its target audience, even giving them the heebie-jeebies.

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