“Talk to Me” is a 2023 horror movie about a group of teens who conjure spirits using an embalmed hand. In the process, they unleash evil forces hellbent on wreaking havoc on their lives. The movie is a cautionary tale about playing with the spirit world — a subject that the Bible also takes on.
“Talk to Me,” produced by Causeway Films, was distributed by A24 in U.S. theaters on July 28. Twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou make their directorial debut with the movie. Danny, Bill Hinzman, and Daley Pearson are credited as writers of the Australian tale. The movie, available for Blu-ray and 4K pre-order, has grossed more than $22 million worldwide and enjoys rave reviews.
Will the Prequel Be the Sequel?
Despite its controversial subject, “Talk to Me” is ultimately entertaining. It currently has an approval rating of 95% from critics and 82% from regular moviegoers on Rotten Tomatoes. With such rave reviews, it’s no surprise that A24 has already greenlit the horror film for a sequel.
Before news broke that “Talk to Me” was getting a sequel, the Philippou brothers had already revealed that they had filmed a prequel. Though low-budget, the prequel focuses on a key character seen at the start of “Talk to Me,” the brothers told The Hollywood Reporter. With the revelation of an impending sequel, it’s not unlikely that the intended prequel will actually be the next release in this new horror movie franchise.
‘Talk to Me’ Plot
The film follows Mia (Sophie Wilde), a troubled teenager who is struggling to cope with her mother’s sudden death. Desperate for connection, Mia finds herself at a party where she learns about an embalmed hand that allows people to see the dead. She, along with everyone else, has seen social media videos of people apparently getting possessed as they hold onto the hand. But are the videos real or a gimmick? Mia wants to find out and decides to volunteer to see for herself.
The basic rule, she’s told, is that she has to say “talk to me” to make contact with the spirit world. The second rule is she has to say “I let you in” to allow the spirit she makes contact with to possess her. The most important rule, though, is that she cannot hold onto the hand for more than 90 seconds. If she, or anyone, does…then all hell could literally break loose. Mia, strapped to a chair, goes for it as a room full of teens pull out their phones to record the ensuing drama.
“Talk to Me” wastes no time in verifying that the social media videos are, in fact, very real. Mia finds the otherwise frightening experience thrilling — as the possession gives the host a kind of high, similar to taking a drug. As it turns out, everyone wants a taste — even Mia’s young neighbor, who she dotes on. Tragedy ensues when Mia, desperate for answers about her dead mother, makes a selfish decision that puts herself and others in harm’s way. Can Mia undo the damage before it’s too late and impact her eternal fate?
While “Talk to Me” will be appreciated by fans of the horror genre, discerning viewers of faith will likely find the plot disturbing. The movie is well-acted and has plenty of jump scares and an emotionally-interesting story at its heart. But the film centers on the idea of playing around with the spirit world. The Bible warns against such activity in Deuteronomy 18:10-14 and elsewhere.
The movie certainly plays on Christian themes with the presence of evil, the demonic, limbo, and so forth. Though this is a spiritual movie, there are no explicit references to God or gods — just evil forces. There are no crucifixes, churches, priests, or prayers. The movie presents no traditional aspects of “light” to counter the darkness and offer relief from the unrelenting evil. In fact, the movie suggests that playing around with the spirit world might actually be all right. Just keep contact with the dead down to 90 seconds.
A24 is known for distributing well-crafted movies, especially horror films. Though not popular with all audiences, their 2018 horror movie “Hereditary” is somewhat similar to “Talk to Me.” The two films have plenty in common in terms of the reigning presence of evil/demons. They both also intentionally emphasize the explicit omission of God to counter the dark forces. But unlike “Hereditary,” the evil forces in “Talk to Me” don’t devour all of their prey.
The surprising twist offers plenty of food for thought about the consequences of one’s actions and tempting one’s fate. “Talk to Me,” currently in theaters, will likely be available for streaming in September, as movies typically remain in theaters for about a month. It’s also possible it will be distributed for streaming in October, a popular time for horror movie releases.