If it’s A24 horror, you can count on a quality scarefest. What may be surprising, is that Talk to Me comes from Daley Pearson, the executive producer of Bluey. Not exactly a detail for the poster, but still a fun bit of trivia for something terrifying. Along with help from many of the film’s cast members, Australian writers/directors Danny Philippou and Bill Hinzman make good on their premise, while offering up a fantastic story about grief.
Mia (Sophie Wilde) is still dealing with her mother’s death by suicide two years ago. Latching onto the comfort of her best friend Jade’s (Alexandra Jensen) family — including Jade’s brother Riley (Joe Bird) and mother Sue (Miranda Otto) — everything starts falling apart after the three teens sneak out for a party. At the party, Hayley (Zoe Terakes) and Joss (Chris Alosio), unleash some evil spirits using an embalmed hand that can be used to contact the dead. But things go from bad to worse after Riley comes in contact with Mia’s mother, followed by something much worse. Now, they must find a way to “close the door” and save Riley’s soul, whether they believe what’s happening is real or not.
The scares start fast and furious and rarely let up. Right from the opening long take at a party where the first death happens, Philippou and Hinzman have you in their grasp and don’t let go until the credits roll. Wilde gives a phenomenal performance, along with Bird, whose Riley gets put literally through hell and back. Both are the anchor, keeping you rooting for the best possible outcome in a film where there very well might not be one.
The script keeps tightening its grip with slowburn pacing, leading to a deserved ending that may or may not be setting up a possible sequel. A24 isn’t necessarily known for franchises, but Talk to Me absolutely deserves it. Terrifying and thoughtful, the film more than lives up to the hype from around the festival circuits and has finally landed here to show Americans that things can be even scarier down under than they ever imagined.