Fresh Meat #3: Talk to Me (2023)

I generally enjoy A24 films, so I am excited to see this one. I have purposefully ignored trailers and reviews to try and go in as blind as possible. Not much of a theatergoer anymore, I waited patiently for this one to come to streaming so I could watch it. That time has finally come. 

The synopsis is as follows: 

“When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces.” 

Rotten Tomatoes: 95% 

IMDb: 7.2 

Directed by Michael and Danny Philippou, also known as RackaRacka, got their start doing backyard wrestling on YouTube in their home of Australia. Their videos turned into comedy-horror shorts and as their fame grew, they were invited to work on the 2014 film, The Babadook. The brothers turned down the opportunity to direct a DCU film to instead direct Talk to Me. The gamble paid off, as the film grossed 68.9 million dollars worldwide on a budget of 4.5 million, and there is both a prequel to Talk to Me that has finished filming, and a sequel, Talk 2 Me, that is in development.  

Can I just state for the record that I hate 21st Century Rap music? I hate that it is played in every scene where there are teens now, because it’s the cool thing. Whatever happened to a good old rock tune to elicit emotion? It’s a minor complaint, but the bass heavy tunes with lyrics that are undecipherable and annoying cymbals hit at a pace in which no human can do, incessantly annoy me. 

Hayley: “Yo, this spirit’s a cunt.” 

I have a hard time believing teens are playing with a disembodied hand, but these are the same teens who eat Tide pods and partake in dangerously stupid Tik Tok trends, so I guess I am the weird one here. If you can get past that, the hand substituting for a designer drug is a metaphor that becomes more pertinent than ever. 

Joss: “Apparently, it was the hand of someone who could connect with the dead, right, so everyone around him thought, let’s just cut his hand off. White people shit, man. I tell you.” 

Teenagers annoy me, and this film really captures the essence of the annoying real-life teen. The incessant phone usage to record every damn thing is uber annoying. The giggling and laughing can grate on one’s nerves, too. Luckily, SOME of them evolve and become much more well-rounded characters as the movie winds on. Their performances are even top notch, even though most of the kids are unknowns.  

The film can be unnerving, disturbing, gross, and creepy, but I don’t know that I was once scared. It can even tug at the heartstrings with its feeling of loss and mourning. Talk to Me is an inventive idea that plays out really well. There’s even a neat little twist at the end that ties it all together.  

But it’s overhyped. I really expected the second coming of It Follows or Get Out or Hereditary, but instead I got Skinamarink. Well, not THAT bad.  

I will definitely watch the sequels, mainly because I don’t know where the story can go from here. It can only show a new group of kids doing the same thing in each movie, which doesn’t sound that exciting or original. 

7.5/10 Stab Wounds 

About RetRo(n) 61 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.