‘Talk to Me’ Gave Us One of the Best Horror Performances of All Time

Movies


The Big Picture

  • Talk to Me
    is a breakout horror movie that is breaking box office records and gaining popularity through word-of-mouth.
  • The film stands out for its fresh take on the possession trope and its understanding of Gen-Z and TikTok culture.
  • Newcomer Sophie Wilde delivers an exceptional horror performance as the complex protagonist of the movie, deserving praise and awards.


Talk to Me became the unlikely horror success of the year, thanks to a viral word-of-mouth effect that started when A24’s latest horror movie circled in film festivals. It has received rave reviews and became A24’s highest-grossing horror movie at the domestic box office. There’s much to love about Michael Philippou and Danny Philippou‘s directorial debut, from its surprisingly fresh take on the possession trope to its unnerving imagery. Plus, Talk to Me is one of the few movies out there that genuinely understand Gen-Z and TikTok culture, making it the perfect horror movie for younger generations. Yet, following a sad trend regarding horror, there are not many people out there praising the fantastic cast of Talk to Me. That’s a shame, as newcomer Sophie Wilde gave us one of the best horror performances ever.


Talk to Me

When a group of friends discover how to conjure spirits using an embalmed hand, they become hooked on the new thrill, until one of them goes too far and unleashes terrifying supernatural forces.

Release Date
July 28, 2023

Director
Danny Philippou , Michael Philippou

Cast
Sophie Wilde , Joe Bird , Alexandra Jensen , Otis Dhanji

Runtime
94 minutes

Writers
Danny Philippou , Bill Hinzman , Daley Pearson

Studio
A24


‘Talk to Me’ Is Terrifying Because of Its Cast

Like many horror movies before it, Talk to Me follows a group of teenagers that become victims of supernatural forces after irresponsibly playing around with a cursed object – in this case, a ceramic hand that allows whoever holds onto it to see spirits trapped in a limbo-like dimension. While many horror movies are plagued with dumb protagonists who keep pushing their luck after learning the dangers of messing with ghosts and demons, Talk to Me stands apart by turning its band of teenagers into actually likable characters. Sure, they are taking risks for internet points, like almost every teenager today, but still, in Talk to Me, the teenagers try to stick to safety rules that allow them to keep playing with fire without getting burnt. Or so they think, as protagonist Mia (Wilde) starts to be chased by vicious spirits even after properly closing the door to the beyond.


Part of what makes Talk to Me so enthralling is how the Phillippou Brothers use ultra-realistic practical effects to show what happens with the teenagers’ bodies after inviting spirits to inhabit them temporarily. That means the main cast of Talk to Me has to change personality for brief moments, acting as lost souls willing to do anything to enjoy the pleasures of being alive once more. Some spirits are down to party, while others are aggressive. Still, we rarely see these ghosts wandering around. All we witness is the disturbing transformation of Talk to Me’s cast as their eyes turn pitch black, their throats start to grasp for air, and their entire body language shifts in a fraction of a second.

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Talk to Me’s cast mostly comprises young actors and the Phillippou Brothers did an excellent job with casting, as every single performance in the movie is worth our time. When everything is well and the teenagers celebrate life, we are carried by the positive energy of their festive encounters, sharing their collective joy. On the other hand, once they start to suffer, Talk to Me becomes one of the most intense horror experiences of the decade. That wouldn’t be possible without actors capable of conveying the dreadful experience Talk to Me’s teenagers go through. However, while the whole cast deserves praise, Wilde is operating on a whole other level.

‘Talk to Me’ Demands a Lot From Sophie Wilde


As the protagonist of Talk to Me, Wilde has to play the most complex character in the movie. Like most teenagers, Wilde’s Mia is stuck in a neverending emotional turmoil, looking for acceptance from her peers while often feeling displaced. On top of that, the movie’s main events happen two years after Mia’s mother (Alexandria Steffensen) died in a supposed accident involving sleeping pills. The trauma of witnessing her father (Marcus Johnson) holding her dead mother’s limp and lifeless body led Mia to develop severe depression, from which she still suffers two years later. On top of all that, Mia’s father refuses to discuss the painful details of the distressing event, pushing them apart. As a result, Mia finds support from the family of her friend Jade (Alexandra Jensen), who doesn’t always seem happy to host her.

While we can thank Talk to Me’s chilling scares for its commercial success, it’s the relatable human drama that holds the movie together. We have a protagonist dealing with personal trauma, being forced to reevaluate her relationships, and getting dragged into a situation she doesn’t fully understand. That’s a lot for even an experienced actor to tackle, yet, Wilde proves she’s up for the task despite Talk to Me being her first feature credit.


The Phillippou Brothers ask a lot from Wilde. They ask the star to let herself go and bask in the teenager’s elation of seizing the moment without thinking about the consequences. Simultaneously, Mia is constantly dealing with the suffering that has gripped her soul after her mother’s passing, continually thwarting her ability to be happy. In addition, like the rest of the cast, Wilde is asked to incorporate spirits and unleash their energy when she grabs the ceramic hand.

Sophie Wilde Delivers an Oscar-Worthy Performance in ‘Talk to Me’


Wilde nails every single aspect of her performance. Wilde’s Mia can lighten the mood and makes us laugh in a scene, while in the next, she guides us to the darkest corners of human existence. Wilde delivers every line with the right inflection, so we can always understand Mia’s complicated and sometimes contradicting emotions. Wilde has a rare control of her microexpressions, giving Mia a more natural look that hits the audience harder while she journeys from hope to despair. It’s a powerful performance that deserves more praise and recognition… and even some awards!

When it comes to awards season, Hollywood has a tradition of ignoring horror movies, particularly horror performances. For that reason, we don’t expect Wilde to get the recognition she deserves for the role of Mia in Talk to Me. It’s a sad reality that horror fans have learned to accept. Still, Wilde’s performance in Talk to Me is absolutely astonishing. It deserves to be praised along with recent horror snubs, such as Lupita Nyong’o in Us, Toni Collette in Hereditary, and Florence Pugh in Midsommar. We can’t wait to see what Wilde does next, and hopefully, she’ll be back to deliver another brilliant horror performance sooner than later.


Talk to Me is currently available to stream on Fubo in the U.S.

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