Unraveling the Haunting Mysteries of Talk to Me

Unraveling the Haunting Mysteries of Talk to Me
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Unraveling the Haunting Mysteries of Talk to Me: A Thrilling Supernatural Journey. The reason I love horror movies is because, when done right, it’s 100% about grief, judgement, doubt, and forgiveness. It’s really quite scary… like jumpy, foreboding, deeply brooding sorts of scary. But it’s also scary in that it’s absently dismissive of the powers beyond… and they don’t take too kindly to that.

Not sure if you know this – but Horror Movies? They are all about inviting the evil in, and the consequences of doing said letting in. Now, obviously, there are a LOT of really bad horror movies out there. But you have to know that when A24 is involved in a horror movie, it’s going to be next level. And so it is when it comes to A24’s Talk to Me, an Aussie movie with a lot going on underneath the surface of the skin of this technicolor nightmare. And I loved this movie. But, if it’s too scary for you – do not come looking to me for a refund dangit.

LEt’S gET tO iT – ShALl wE?

Talk to Me Introduction:

The movie opens with a huge party, and an embalmed hand. Out at a party, Cole is searching for his brother Duckett. Eventually he finds him, only to find that there is something terribly wrong going on here. The party attendees had been calling out to evil spirits in the great beyond. As Cole is attempting to get Duckett out safely, something goes horribly wrong and he is stabbed by his brother. And then Duckett stabs himself in the face. With the tableau set, we know that we are in for a horrible, terrible, no good ride.

As Talk To Me opens, we quickly begin learning about the lives of this supernatural battleground. Enter 17-year-old Mia, she’s haunted by a terrible past. Specifically her mother’s suicide a few years prior. She’s adrift and completely at a loss. She isn’t connecting with her father, Max… he’s obviously still wrecked by the brutality of his wife’s suicide. And so Mia finds solace in her friend Jade’s family, and her brother Riley.

Eventually they skip out to a party hosted by Hayley and Joss… the main attraction? A severed, embalmed hand. The rules of the game? You have to hold the hand, say “Talk to Me”, and then… most importantly… “I let you in.” (I don’t know if you know this or not, but historically, one of the most important elements of horror movies is that someone has to invite the horror in across the threshold. Think about it, the movie Alien? Weyland-Yutani corporation. Think about it… more will come to you as you think about it. Trust me, it’s a rule.)

Then, after 90 full seconds, they blow the candle out to end the possession. If they don’t blow it out at 90, the spirit will stay. And that can’t be good. When Mia goes first, she’s possessed by a spirit that threatens Riley. (Not an auspicious start.) And when the group attempts to blow out the candle, it fights back. But, it should be noted, not until after the 90 second deadline.

Then later, the group plays again at Jade’s house… and after a ton of turns, and lots of scariness all the way around… Riley volunteers. But his sister? Definitely says absolutely not. No dice… and storms out. But Mia? She says he can go, but only for 50 seconds. Because, he’s a young’n and you can’t talk to evil spirits longer than 50 seconds when you are that young. WAIT WHAT? Anyway. Riley has a turn. And he seems to be possessed by Mia’s mother… who lovingly talks to her and tells her how proud of her she is. But then Riley begins brutally bashing in his own face. They can’t get him to stop. Afterwards, Mia is ostracized by Jade, and Jade’s mother, and told to leave the hospital. That night though, while crashing at Jade’s boyfriend’s home, she has visions of someone chewing off his toes, only to be awakened while chewing his toes herself. Afterwards, Mia uses the hand to contact her mother Rhea, who tells her that her “suicide” was actually an accident, and that she needs to help Riley. That Riley is still possessed and is still attacking his sister at the hospital.

Unraveling the Haunting Mysteries of Talk to Me: A Thrilling Supernatural Journey - a movie that we could all do to learn a little from.

Mia learns that the spirits possessing a person will weaken in time the longer they stay with Riley, so the goal is to – wait it out. (Said no one ever about a possession… but I digress.) But it is Mia who guesses that they never finished Riley’s ritual because no one ever blew out the candle because of all the chaos that hit the fan.

Eventually, Mia’s father, after being confronted about his wife’s fake suicide earlier shows his daughter his wife’s suicide note, which he had “hidden from her.” But Rhea tells Mia that Max is lying about the suicide and the suicide note. While she is learning this, she is attacked by a ghost in the form of Max, and she accidentally stabs her father, the real one, as a result. Like in the neck. Which, isn’t good. Always bad actually.

Then, Rhea tells Mia that Riley… hold on, let’s make sure you know who everyone is. Rhea is the mom, Mia is the lead, you know, Rhea’s daughter. And Riley is the brother of Jade, who tried to bash his own face in? The kid in the hospital? Okay, good. Anyway, Rhea tells Mia that Riley needs to die before he can be set free. Obviously believing her mother’s dead spirit, Mia tricks Jade and her mother out of the hospital room in order to see him. There, in the hospital, he takes the form of like a rotting dying spirit. But she can’t kill him. Jade, simultaneously finds Mia’s father, bleeding… and returns to the hospital just in time to find her taking Riley out in a wheelchair. The spirits try and convince Mia to shove Riley into traffic, but instead, tosses herself onto the road, causing an accident.

Injured, Mia wakes. And she wanders the hospital only to find a completely healed, and better Riley. And there is Jade, and their mother Sue! So grEAT! Wandering on, she finds her father, who survived his neck wound. PHEW! And as she attempts to reach out to him, she realizes that she is on the other side of another embalmed hand as partiers play the game. WAIT! WHAT?! She’s died? She’s dead? And now she’s a spirit herself. Holy frick!

Deeper Dive Into Talk To Me

Talk to Me isn’t a puerile attempt at spelunking kids today, and their tendencies for “edgy fun” at parties. Rather it’s a poignant, and scary, attempt at grappling with our fears of grief, the ever after, and hurt of loss. Mia starts the movie distanced from her father, and in real pain at the recent loss of her mother. As the movie progresses we see several different flashbacks indicating just how fresh Mia’s loss is, and just how deep the pain of her loss is. So it’s only natural, that given a chance to escape, she’s going to take it. But when Riley seems to be inhabited by Mia’s mother? Mia is going to do absolutely anything she can to get more time with her.

The only glitch? The great beyond is more interested in ruining her than they are giving her a peaceful reunion with mom. Which is why, she goes overboard, and almost kills Riley in her absent-minded myopic focus on the hand. And, it also then makes sense as to why Mia, though she saves Riley (thereby paying penance for hurting him terribly before) she ends up losing her own life as a result.

Unraveling the Haunting Mysteries of Talk to Me: A Thrilling Supernatural Journey

My Thoughts On Talk To Me

Life is scary. It’s hard. And it’s really, really, heartbreaking. This is a fact. And if, by chance, you don’t agree with me, or think me wrong on this point ….. give it five minutes. And sometimes, when we are at our most heartbroken? We’ll do the absolutely dumbest things imaginable. This is also a fact. A sad fact. But a fact all the same. And when we do the dumbest things we could possibly do as a result of stress, and grief, we are guaranteed to make it all much, much worse. More facts.

Take, for example, deciding to medicate our grief away. Why HELLO DUI!? Where did that come from!? (Oh, I know, you were grieving, and so you decided to drink that entire bottle of bourbon in the liquor store parking lot. But then you also chose to drive the half mile to your house. Officer, hiccup, good to see you sir.) Or, divorce as a result of your philandering? Or less dramatic, you lose contact of other important people in your life because you instead spend all your time with your stamp collection. Or whatever. But that is life! And instead of attempting to talk to your mother through a embalmed hand… maybe try and connect with your father, who is also hurting as well. (Which is basically the plot of the amazing show Shrinking, which I highly recommend.)

Obviously we can’t derive too many real life lessons from a silly seance-filled horror flick. Or can we? I mean, it’s better than not learning anything at all… no? Or not. It is a pretty fun movie on the face of it. Pretty scary anyway. I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. But then again – it was brought to us by A24 after all.

Edited by: CY