Talk to Me (Rated R)
By: Adam Freed
Prior to this summer’s recent box office boom, doomsday soothsayers foretold the end of the film industry partially due to the indifference of the “YouTube Generation” and their unwillingness to invest in a story format stretching beyond 7 minutes. In a strangely ironic twist, the solution to the short attention span conundrum may also be responsible for creating the problem in the first place. Much to the chagrin of pessimistic profits, globally influential YouTubers and Australian twin brothers Daniel and Michael Philippou, act as co-directors of Talk to Me, an instant horror classic. Emboldened by the monumental might of A24 studios, Talk to Me is a bold and haunting look at the weight of grief through the simultaneous lens of the mourners and the mourned.
Not since Wes Craven’s Scream (1996) has a finger been seemingly closer to the pulse of a teen horror audience. Craven famously enjoyed the luxury of painting his murder masterpiece in a pre-smartphone era in which competition for collective attention was at a comparable minimum. Talk to Me gloriously understands that capturing eyes in the 21st century need be rooted in viral moments that slyly lay a sinister trail of breadcrumbs into a simple yet keenly executed concept. Where countless attempts at this target demographic tightrope walk have gone awry, Talk to Me is a dagger to the heart of the matter.
The film’s premise is rooted in a ready to be posted video craze that puts the boldest of participants face to face with those trapped beyond the grave. Where the concept of Ouija board parties is far from groundbreaking, the visual and viral nature of these more “interactive experiences” are only taken lightly, until the weight of the matter becomes too apparent to miss. For novice filmmakers the duo of Aussie brothers here seem to master the elusive art of pacing. There is nary a moment in this 90 minute nerve fraying film where it seems appropriate to either fully look or to look away. Debut films of this nature simply don’t wash up on America’s shores often, which makes this terrifying note in a bottle a must see for horror enthusiasts and thrill junkies alike.
TARGET SCORE - 7/10 A satisfying and horrific concept executed with precision.
* Note to newer readers - Movie Archer film criticism abides by two steadfast rules. The reviews must be bite sized and must be completely free of major spoilers. In a film like Talk to Me, the experience of knowing the least amount possible maximizes the experience of viewing with friends, hence the limited details provided. Thanks for reading!