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Sunday, January 22, 2023

‘Talk to Me’ Sundance Review – A Violent Supernatural Cautionary Tale That Leaves You Breathless

Supernatural shocker Talk to Me marks the feature debut of twin filmmaking duo Danny and Michael Philippou, the creative minds behind the controversial YouTube channel RackaRacka, a showcase for intense action horror comedy videos with a substantial subscriber base. The channel’s penchant for graphic violence and extreme pranks stirred up controversy in the past, including a run-in with authorities, which also extends to their debut. Talk to Me delivers an intense, nightmarish horror movie that’ll leave you breathless.

The title refers to the latest viral party craze, which sees teens gather around a volunteer who grabs a mysterious embalmed hand while uttering the phrase “talk to me.” It’s a short séance ritual that opens a direct line of communication to the dead, but those that play must abide by strict rules to maintain the boundary between the living and the dead. Mia (Sophie Wilde) decides to test the game for herself at a party with close friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen) and Jade’s younger brother Riley (Joe Bird), hoping it distracts her on the anniversary of her mother’s death. It does, and then some; Mia finds herself increasingly haunted as she scrambles to undo the consequences of her actions.

The setup calls to mind familiar supernatural horror movies that warn teens of the dangers of dabbling with Ouija boards, seances, and occultism they don’t understand. From the opening sequence, however, the Philippou brothers establish high stakes and a startlingly violent, welcome departure from convention. This teen horror movie has sharp teeth, and the world beyond the living has never felt more dangerous or dire.

Working from a script co-written by Danny Philippou and Bill Hinzman, the Philippou brothers quickly ascertain the messiness of adolescence through Mia, Jade, and Riley. The emotional turbulence of teen hormones gets compounded in Mia, who’s assimilated into Jade’s family after her mother’s passing as a means of escapism from her lonely home life. It’s an effective means of adding complexity while engendering empathy. Where death is an entertaining parlor trick to capture on camera for most of her peers, Mia finds a unique thrill from the game. Wilde makes for the perfect lead to encapsulate Mia’s profound vulnerability and melancholy within the standard adolescence invincibility complex.

Because the young leads are so authentically rendered, it adds to the nail-biting tension. The filmmakers demonstrate a knack for stretching out the suspense as long as possible, only to release it through unexpected scares, gross-out gags, or visceral, wince-inducing violence. It’s not just the brutality that surprises but the filmmakers’ audacious visual interpretation of ghosts and the ghostly realm. The filmmakers create an exhilarating, chilling dichotomy between irreverent youth and the ghastly, surreal dead.

The more the boundaries between worlds blur, the less concise the narrative becomes, faltering slightly in the back half. It’s fitting, as it winds up mirroring Mia’s daunting journey. There’s an unflinching symmetry to her story that packs a potent punch right down to the final unforgettable frame. The Philippou brothers’ feature debut goes straight for the jugular, ensuring Talk to Me will stick with you. There’s a refreshing ruthlessness to this cautionary tale that plays like a surge of adrenaline; it makes for one hell of an introduction to Danny and Michael Philippou’s brand of horror.

Talk to Me made its World Premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, with release info TBD.

The post ‘Talk to Me’ Sundance Review – A Violent Supernatural Cautionary Tale That Leaves You Breathless appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3747611/talk-to-me-sundance-review-an-intense-violent-supernatural-cautionary-tale-that-leaves-you-breathless/

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