I’ve been having a lot of nightmares lately. I’ve always been a lucid dreamer, and when I do have bad dreams, they’re usually from stress. But in the days since viewing TALK TO ME, I’ve had very specific nightmares about being stalked by otherworldly demons. TALK TO ME did something to me that no movie has done in a VERY long time: It really, REALLY scared me.

I mean, that’s what a horror movie is supposed to do, right? I love horror movies, but it’s rare that they actually scare me. Some of my recent favorites like MIDSOMMAR, THE VVITCH, and INFINITY POOL were incredibly engrossing but not scary for me. Over on the “slasher” side, films like the SCREAM franchise or EVIL DEAD RISES have some great jump scares but don’t leave me in a sense of dread for days afterward. TALK TO ME managed to accomplish all of it: Immediately frightening, terrorizing, and leaving me unsettled for days after. I’ll admit, I didn’t want it to end. 

I’m not “of the YouTube generation,” as they say. I remember it was brand new in 2005, and watching some of the earliest viral videos. But I was well out of college at that point. I know that TALK TO ME directors & twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou got their start on YouTube making horror-comedy videos, but that’s about it. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one of their videos. I remarked to a friend, “Well, I hope they’re better people than the Paul brothers”, referring to the famous YouTube brothers Jake & Logan Paul. When I went to watch the film at the Los Angeles Alamo Drafthouse, the worker who scanned my ticket told me he was a huge fan of theirs from YouTube and hoped the movie would be as good as he wanted it to be. 

Not only did I not know anything about the movie’s creators, but I didn’t know much about the film itself. I saw a brief trailer for it in front of something else this year, and that was it. I never watched another trailer. I knew it was an A24 movie getting good buzz from Sundance 2023, and that was enough for me. There’s something to be said going into a film blind or close to it. I wish I did it more often, but I’m a sucker for an evening of trailer viewing.

TALK TO ME is based on a pretty simple concept – a concept that has been a part of horror films for decades: Teenagers making terrible decisions. The story can be seen as a stand-in for grief (and the trauma that comes along with it, addiction, or even the ADHD that comes with us eating up short viral videos all day, every day). An incredibly strong cast led by mainly newcomers, including Sophie Wilde (Mia), Joe Bird (Riley), and Zoe Tarakes (Hayley), add to the winning formula here. As the filmmakers are Australian, the story takes place in Adelaide, and the actors’ accents were stronger than I’m used to.I’m looking forward to rewatching this when it streams or becomes available for purchase with the closed captioning on. When that day happens, I fully expect the nightmares to come back if they’ve even ceased by then.

TALK TO ME is currently exclusively in theatres. Bring a friend….to hold their hand.

Jami Losurdo

When not writing film and tv reviews, Jami is expanding her collection of colorful sunglasses, lifting weights, and working her day job as a Digital Advertising Director. An alumnus of NYU Tisch for Film/TV, Jami made Los Angeles her home in the early 2000s and continues her quest to find the very BEST tacos of all time.

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