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The Crack Magazine

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Talk to Me

Director: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou

Stars: Sophie Wilde, Joe Bird, Alexandra Jensen, Otis Dhanji

Graduating from YouTube shorts, Australian twins Danny and Michael Philippou’s debut feature is an occasionally genuinely scary, but flawed horror tale. After a disconcerting prologue in which an Adelaide house party takes a very bad turn, we are introduced to Mia (Wilde), a high-schooler who lost her mother two years earlier. Now, in order to avoid her father, she mostly spends her time with the family of her best friend Jade (Jensen). Jade is currently seeing Mia’s ex while Mia is dating the devout Christian Daniel (Dhanji). They are invited to a get together where they are pressurised into playing the latest popular social media-friendly game. This involves holding a severed hand, reputedly belonging to a powerful medium, which is encased in a ceramic coating. The player must utter the words ‘Talk to me’, which summons up visions of repulsive figures, then follow with the words ‘I let you in’ which allows full possession. Mia, believing that the game can put her back in touch with her late mother, becomes obsessed, to the extent the visions begin to leak into her regular life. There’s some potentially rich material in here about grief, addiction and the desperate search for cache in a social media-infused world, but it is side-lined in favour of broad scares. The narrative occasionally feels muddled, but the picture contains some genuinely unnerving moments, particularly Mia’s initial possession, thanks in no small part to Wilde’s unhinged bug-eyed turn. The feeling of dread is augmented by atmospheric sound design and judicious editing.

David Willoughby

Follow David on Twitter at @DWill_Crackfilm