Talk to Me parents guide

Talk to Me Parent Guide

The movie manages to be creepy and intense without relying on jump scares and "gotcha" moments.

Overall D

Theaters: After holding a plaster hand, reputedly containing a dead psychic's hand, three teens start having terrifying experiences.

Release date July 27, 2023

Violence D
Sexual Content D
Profanity D
Substance Use D

Why is Talk to Me rated R? The MPAA rated Talk to Me R for strong/bloody violent content, some sexual material and language throughout

Run Time: 95 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Friends Mia (Sophie Wilde) and Jade (Alexandra Jensen) are as close as sisters, and Mia has practically lived with Jade and her mom Sue (Miranda Otto) and younger brother Riley (Joe Bird) since her mother’s unexpected death two years ago. Things are going well until, at a wild party, Mia, Jade, and Riley first see “the hand”: a plaster cast of a human hand, rumored to contain the real hand of a dead psychic. This hand allegedly lets users see “the beyond” if they simply hold it and say “Talk to me, I let you in”. Mia tries it first, and describes an extraordinary experience which leaves her feeling more alive than ever. Obviously, inviting unknown entities into your body comes with some risks, but for the carefree teenagers, the buzz is more than worth the scares. Until, that is, Riley tries it. Riley seems to embody Mia’s mother briefly – before trying to pull his own eyes out and beat himself to death. Despite Riley’s ongoing hospitalization, Mia keeps using the hand to try to talk to her mother, hoping that her mother has some answers for how she can help Riley. Soon, though, Mia finds herself seeing horrifying things even when she doesn’t use the hand…

Despite being a smaller Australian production, directed by two YouTubers, Talk to Me is a pretty solid horror movie. It’s creepy, unpleasant, and intense without resorting to jump scares, and Sophie Wilde’s nervous performance really sells the rest of the movie. But it’s not all roses, either. The movie has fallen for the latest Hollywood trend in horror, namely darkening and desaturating the film in postproduction. I hate this for a number of reasons. First, I’m trying to take notes in these movies, and when they’re lit exclusively by what I would guess to be a child’s nightlight, my job is a lot harder. Secondly, it actively obscures parts of the film, some of which are reasonably significant. This is clearly not a good idea.

A bigger problem, especially for readers of this website, will be the other things the characters get up to. While they are being possessed, a teenager starts making out with a dog, several people are stabbed, beaten, or bitten, and a few characters commit suicide. It’s a dark ride, to say the least. Even without the influence of a passenger in the old brain box, teens are seen drinking and smoking marijuana, and have graphic sexual conversations of their own accord. In fairness, it’s hard to make a horror movie while displaying exemplary teenage behaviour – that would preclude most of the plot. But this movie goes too far for non-adult audiences, and even among adults I suspect some of this content is going to be too much. Veteran horror fans, on the other hand, are unlikely to be particularly perturbed and might enjoy some of the film’s more unsettling moments. Hopefully, whichever side you fall on, you have the good sense not to try any of this at home. Life’s hard enough without inviting spiritual possession.

Directed by Danny and Michael Philippou. Starring Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, Miranda Otto. Running time: 95 minutes. Theatrical release July 27, 2023. Updated

Talk to Me
Rating & Content Info

Why is Talk to Me rated R? Talk to Me is rated R by the MPAA for strong/bloody violent content, some sexual material and language throughout

Violence: There are several depictions of suicide which include characters overdosing, stabbing themselves, and attempting to bite and bludgeon themselves to death. Individuals are injured in a car collision. A character is seen trying to enucleate his own eye. (Fun fact! This is called oedipism, after the Greek character Oedipus. Just don’t ask why he was trying to remove his own eyes.)
Sexual Content: There are several graphic sexual references. A teen character is seen kissing a dog. A teen character is seen sucking on a sleeping person’s toes.
Profanity: There are 50 sexual expletives, 28 scatological curses, and frequent uses of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Teen characters are seen drinking and smoking marijuana.

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Other lower budget horror options include See For Me, Knocking, The Boathouse, Bright Hill Road, Don’t Say It’s Name, andCome True. Other examples of party games gone badly wrong include Truth or Dare, Bodies Bodies Bodies, The Blackening, Escape Room, Ready or Not, and Ouija.