Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans

Danny and Michael Philippou’s gruelling character horror TALK TO ME centres on friends who conjure up spirits with an embalmed hand. Becoming hooked on the thrill, the teenagers excitedly record the episodes, but it becomes a dangerous vice for grief-stricken Mia (Sophie Wilde). When she undermines her best friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen) and allows her brother Riley (Joe Bird) to have a go, she realises her grave mistake.


Speaking with FrightFest, the directors shared their thoughts on the film and their creative journey.




Danny Philippou: “We made our first movie when we were nine, and we've been obsessed since we were kids. There's an urge, a need, and I can't imagine doing anything else. It seems impossible that I’d be doing anything else. We've always been obsessed with filmmaking and horror.”


Michael Philippou: “I remember filming something, then showing someone and fast-forwarding through: “Oh, just wait for this next bit.” I was thinking that I want to make something where I don't have to fast forward, but I'm getting a response the whole time. I remember that being an early inspiration of how we can keep people engaged?”




MP: “In the film House, they started black and white and then turned to colour. When we did our own film series, we'd have the first ones in black and white, switching the setting to black and white on the camera to make it look older and then turn to colour. SAW was something else we were obsessed with, as well as BUFFY, the GOOSEBUMPS books and SHAUN OF THE DEAD.”




DP: “The inspiration was watching our neighbours growing up, and one of them was experimenting with drugs for the first time. The kids he was with were filming him, having a negative reaction to what he was taking. He'd taken the drug, convulsed on the floor, and no one was helping him. Everyone was filming him and laughing. I remember seeing that footage, and it bothered me. I write therapeutically to express things that bothered or scared me by trying to put them into words.


“Daley Pearson, a producer, sent us a short film about kids having fun with possession. So those two ideas lived with each other. I rewrote the short, and once I started writing, I couldn't stop. I started bouncing it back and forth with my co-writer Bill Hinzman, and it formed over a year of kicking it back and forth, forming the characters and working on the structure.”





DP: “We knew we wanted it to work as both a drama film and a horror film and to let those drama beats play out. An accident from when I was sixteen inspired the film - the hand and everything. There was a rhythm to the night where we were jumping from party to party, and everything seemed to be building. Then we were in this car accident, and the whole night came to this brutal stop, and I was disorientated. It went from this night of parties to the hospital to my bedroom. I wanted to capture the pace and rhythm of that night - of the jolt and seeing how it affects these characters, and to take time with those moments. When the moments of horror come, we wanted them to be earned and grounded in character and not just feel like a slasher film or a splatter film. We wanted all the horror to be rooted in character.”




MP: “It feels like some of the mainstream stuff, in terms of rhythm, there must be a jump scare [frequently], whether it's tied to the story or not. Whereas our film, it was about where it works with the character. There are some jump scares, but we wanted them to be tied to character, like the phone ringing or someone suddenly banging on the window - we wanted it to all be through the story.”




DP: “There are things as people that are tough to discuss, so we don't talk about them. We pretend it's not happening, or the conversation doesn't need to be had - the elephant in the room. If only Mia had embraced the genuine connection with her dad and talked about certain things, the film wouldn't have happened. You see the steps Mia should be taking, but if you're using something as a vice to escape your problems, whether it be drugs or alcohol, or whatever it is, if you're using it to escape something, you're not going to have the best time. You see that she's disregarding a genuine connection and attaching herself to this false connection.”




DP: “With social media, there's peer pressure and a glorification of vices online that make things seem cooler and pollute young people's minds. We weren't trying to make a grand statement, but we were inserting social media because it felt natural.


TALK TO ME is playing in cinemas now.


Paul Risker.


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Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans