Published on July 27th, 2023 | by Harris Dang

Talk to Me – Film Review

Reviewed by Harris Dang on the 27th of July 2023
Maslow Entertainment presents a film by Danny and Michael Philippou
Produced by Samantha Jennings and Kristina Ceyton
Starring Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Zoe Terakes, Chris Alosio, Otis Dhanji, Miranda Otto, and Marcus Johnson
Running Time: 95 minutes
Rating: MA15+
Release Date: the 27th of July 2023

Talk To Me tells the story of Mia (Sophie Wilde), a bright, upbeat young woman who is undergoing a time of grief due to the untimely passing of her mother. Her relationship with her father (Marcus Johnson) is estranged and distant, so she spends a lot of time over at the family home of her best friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen).

They mingle together constantly, even if Jade has her attention on her boyfriend Daniel (Otis Dhanji), who happens to be Mia’s ex. One night, they decide to attend a party that is trending on social media, much to the behest of Jade’s mother, Sue (Miranda Otto). As a stalemate to sneak out, Jade reluctantly brings her little brother, Riley (Joe Bird).

The party, led by Hayley and Joss (Zoe Terakes and Chris Alosio), happens to be a séance, with an embalmed hand serving as a catalyst. Despite the scepticism, Mia tries it out and it becomes a conduit to speak to the dead, leading to communication and possession that results with a sheer thrill that is exhilaratingly addictive. The more they tamper with the supernatural, the more they realise that there are forces at hand (excuse the pun) that are not to be meddled with.


Talk to Me is the latest in Australian horror. While that may not sound like much on paper, what makes it interesting is the talent behind the camera. Meet the directors Danny and Michael Philippou who are twin brothers from Adelaide, South Australia. They may not be known on a filmmaking level yet but they are recognised for their outrageously creative horror/comedy videos from their YouTube channel, RackaRacka. With their sense of ingenuity behind the camera, A24 handling distribution and the festival hype behind it, Talk to Me could end up being something special. Does it deserve all its accolades?

Talk to Me is a stellar genre effort that is one of the most confident directorial debuts in recent years. The confidence, assurance, and deft handling in storytelling is evident from frame one. The film starts off with an excellent tracking shot that follows through a raucous party that eventuates to tragedy. The Philippous trust their audience with their strong directorial eye that is refreshingly free of exposition, preachiness, and blatant messaging of its themes. Considering the story’s themes involve addiction, loneliness, dependency, exploitation, and trauma that is saying a lot.

The film deserves credit for not sugar coating its heavy themes and characterisations. The characters are refreshingly flawed and three-dimensional and it makes all the difference in making the drama and horror work as well as it does. In the film, Mia manages to communicate to the spirit of her deceased mother. Her drive to make up for lost time comes at a huge cost to the detriment of herself as well as her loved ones. It is a daunting task to play a flawed character and make her sympathetic. It is a credit to Sophie Wilde that she plays Mia with such charisma, emotional intelligence, and nuance that she makes Mia remarkably human.

The film does lose points in terms of originality and story beats since it adheres to its premise in being a cautionary tale or in more explicit terms, the “fuck around and find out” storytelling. And the film is clearly made to shock audiences as opposed to providing a story that strives for deeper meaning in terms of illuminating the human condition. However, in terms of shocking audiences, the Philippous do a great job in delivering the scares that audiences will savour.

The gore quotient is heavy and grisly but not gratuitous. It is a glorious means to an end thanks to the expertly handled graduation of tension. The murky perception of dreams and reality are played to the hilt here and it results in some spectacularly shocking moments. Having many of the characters not coming to terms with the consequences of their actions makes the bleak mood even more oppressive, which then leads to a very satisfying ending.

Overall, Talk to Me is a familiar, yet grisly and brutal horror experience that is a must watch. With the ingenuity behind the Philippou’s filmmaking, the mean streak in the storytelling, gnarly special effects, and Wilde’s stellar performance, Talk to Me is an outright winner for Australian horror.

Talk to Me – Film Review Harris Dang

Summary: With the ingenuity behind the Philippou's filmmaking, the mean streak in the storytelling, the gnarly special effects, and Wilde’s stellar performance, Talk to Me is an outright winner for Australian horror.



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