This July, Aussies will finally witness ‘Talk To Me’, a homegrown vision of horror that has had cinephiles and Hollywood alike screaming in terror. The genre tour-de-force is the directorial debut of Danny and Michael Philippou, who have brought their brand of online viral insanity to the big screen. ‘Talk To Me’ tells the tale of a group of teenagers who discover an embalmed hand that connects them to spirits from the afterlife. As you can probably guess, things go off the rails as the friends try to escape the supernatural forces turning their lives inside out.
Fright fans have lauded ‘Talk To Me’ for placing the macabre against a backdrop of adolescent angst and displacement. While Teenagers and Horror is a romance as storied as it is bloody, this film sets itself apart with its authentic portrayal of Australian suburban youth. In the past, we’ve become accustomed to seeing nightmarish stories in places like Haddonfield and Cunningham County. However, this one is proudly set in a typical Adelaide-ian neighbourhood; for every scene featuring spooky visions or rotting ghosts, there is another of suffocating peer pressure at a basement house party with Onefour as the soundtrack or frustrations being left unsaid in a nonchalant Aussie cadence.
‘Talk To Me’ boasts a confidence that comes from filmmakers willing to throw everything at the wall – and demolish it. Enter Danny and Michael Philippou. The twin auteurs began their careers far from the silver screen, but online with their infamous Youtube channel RackaRacka. For the better part of the last decade, the boys consistently blew minds with their heart-stopping forays into backyard wrestling, DIY stunts, and high-octane homages to pop-culture favourites. However, just below the chaotic surface lay a talent for long-form storytelling that couldn’t be contained on desktop players and iPhone screens. With ‘Talk To Me’, the brothers have created a cinematic coup that has captivated industry heavyweights like Jordan Peele, Ari Aster, and Sundance Film Festival judges watching through sweaty fingers. Their most significant achievement has been the illustrious A24 buying the distribution rights to the picture, guaranteeing thousands of screens across the US and a level of exposure rarely seen for Australian films.
The significance of ‘Talk To Me’ ‘s already impressive success goes beyond the cineplex and box office grosses; It’s a sign that audiences are ready to embrace new storytellers. In under two hours, the Philippous have crafted a refreshing work that is just as beholden to the history of genre storytelling as much as it is to the Australian communities they grew up in – not too bad for a pair of YouTubers.
Special thanks to both Danny & Michael Philippou for taking the time to chat. Make sure to check out ‘Talk To Me’ when it hits cinemas on 27th of July!