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The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

The scariest A24 movie to date

‘Talk to Me’ shocks in multiple ways
Calli Recore

Spoiler Warning: This article will discuss spoilers about “Talk to Me.”





“Talk to Me” was directed by twin brothers Danny and Michael Philippou, and serves as their directorial debut. They are known for their co-hosted YouTube channel, RackaRacka. Their channel gained popularity from comedy sketches and skits, especially ones including a parody of Ronald McDonald. 

While “Talk to Me” serves as their A24 directorial debut, the brothers previously dabbled in horror themes on their channel. But, of course, in a somewhat comedic way. YouTube videos like “Ronald McDonald Playground Slaughter!” are a perfect example of what led them to create a film like “Talk to Me.” As the name implies, they created a “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” like parody where Ronald McDonald gorily attacks children in an indoor playground. 

The film’s plot follows a mysterious, paranormal ceramic hand. The hand is used as a party game of sorts, reminiscent of paranormal flicks involving Ouija boards. When the hand is grasped and the phrase “talk to me” is said, a spirit will present itself only to the one playing. Following this, saying “I let you in” will allow the spirit to temporarily take control of the host’s body and communicate through them. During this, the person playing is strapped down and a timer is set. If you go over the time, there is a chance the spirit will try to fully take control of the host’s physical body. While the paranormal game concept is not new — with games like “Ouija” and “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board” — it elevates the concept, making it more exciting. It is interesting to see how only one person can see or feel the spiritual presence until they allow it to possess them, and how each character doubts that the game is real until they participate in it themselves.

Of course, like all good horror movies, this experience goes wrong. During a kickback, one of the younger characters, Riley, is allowed a chance to play the game. During his experience, he is seemingly possessed by the main character Mia’s mother — who had died one year prior to when the film takes place. Mia keeps him possessed over the normal allotted time, and soon things quickly go wrong. 

With top-notch gore, the spirit possessing Riley smashes his body on any object it can get near, leaving gashes and wounds. This scene has a lot of genre-mashing, with inspiration taken from gorey body horror, cliché paranormals and surprisingly the party montages from movies like “Project X.” It is cool to see how all those different genres were able to culminate into one exciting chapter of the film, definitely making it the most enjoyable part.

Following this, Riley is sent to the hospital in critical condition while Mia is ostracized by her peers and looking for a way to communicate with her deceased mother. While previously warned not to use the hand by herself, she does not listen to the warning. This leads to her staying possessed over the normal allotted time as well. While Mia is not physically hurt like Riley, she begins seeing apparitions and slowly becomes more unstable until the film’s climax. 

Being able to see Mia’s decline and how everyone’s attitude around her changes from the start to the end is perfect. It is somewhat an outside view of how someone manic or schizophrenic may be viewed in real life. She was the only one seeing and hearing the apparitions, whether or not they were truly there. As she became more obsessed with the situation, those around her became more uncomfortable. Whether it was intentional or not, it is a great show of how mental health affects individuals and those around them. 

Throughout the film, the shock value is exceedingly high. From the makeup used to make the spirits to the gore in scenes with Riley, everything is perfect. The horror element is not the only thing of note. While the Philippou twins became famous for their comedy sketches as RackaRacka, they brought their comedy into the film as well. With a possession scene including a long makeout session with a bulldog to late-night accidental toe-sucking, their comedy works to elevate the film.

If you are a fan of A24 horror, or horror in general, “Talk to Me” is a must-see movie. The writing is complex from start to finish, with constant lookbacks and important foreshadowing throughout. While it may not be as complex as other A24 films such as “Midsommar” and “Hereditary,” it is definitely scarier overall.

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About the Contributors
Malaki Lingg, Web Editor
Malaki (he/they) is a third-year Digital Communication student at UTSA. He is originally from Nevada but has lived in the Austin area for most of his life. When not writing for The Paisano you will most likely find him thrifting, gardening or attending a concert. This is his fourth semester with The Paisano and his first as an editor.
Calli Recore, Graphic Artist

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