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Laramie Movie Scope: Talk to Me

A horror film with a few surprises

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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January 19, 2024 – This movie, directed by Danny Philippou (who also co-wrote it) and Michael Philippou use well-known horror tropes with additional inventiveness and plot twists to create a genuinely creepy movie about communing with the dead.

The movie opens with Cole (Ari McCarthy) looking for his brother, Duckett (Sunny Johnson) at a wild party. This did not end well. We then jump ahead to a connected story involving young people messing around with a magical hand that enables people to be possessed by the spirits of the dead.

The idea is that you hold the hand (it is ceramic, but supposedly the real hand of a mystic is inside it) light a candle and say “talk to me,” at which point you see a dead person, looking somewhat decayed. At this point, you say, “I let you in,” and you are possessed by the spirit. This seems like a bad idea, but these are young people, often drunk, and they are trying to prove how brave they are.

Supposedly, this is safe to do, as long as you break off the contact with the dead, by letting go of the hand and blowing out the candle before 90 seconds is up. So what could possibly go wrong? Plenty. Mia (Sophie Wilde of “The Portable Door”) and her friends Jade (Alexandra Jensen of “Beat”) and Jade's little brother Riley (Joe Bird of “Rabbit”) all attend a party where people are playing with spirits of the dead. A couple of people hang onto the hand a little too long and the spirits don't let go of them. Here is where there is more blood, self-mutilation and more crazy behavior.

Some of the problems arising from this situation began earlier, when Mia's boyfriend, Daniel (Otis Dhanji of “Don't Make Me Go”) split with her and became Jade's boyfriend. Mia still wants him, but won't admit it. Mia's mother, Rhea (Alexandria Steffensen of “How to Please a Woman”) committed suicide, but Mia's father, Max (Marcus Johnson of “The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee”) hasn't really been straight with her about Rhea's death. Mia has attached herself onto Jade's family, consisting of Jade, Riley and their mother, Sue (Miranda Otto of “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”). Jade's family doesn't like Mia latching onto them, but won't admit it.

The strain of possession, mutilation and severe injuries causes all these little problems to come to the surface and become big ones. In addition, the dead spirits are not honest when they communicate with the living. The dead spirits seem to have evil intentions, raising the possibility that they might be demons, or some other sinister beings.

All of this comes to a dramatic conclusion that doesn't conform to the rules of spirit possession previously established in the film. If you are a horror film fan, however, you may not worry about a story sticking to its own rules. The ending of the movie, while inconsistent with the rest of the story, is very effective, a very nice twist indeed.

The central character of this film, Mia, is played convincingly by Sophie Wilde. Her performance is very powerful and is a major strength of this movie. As a general rule, I think horror movies are overrated, and that's the case with this one, too. While it is not among the best films of the year, it is a good, solid horror movie. It rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff (no extra charges apply). I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2024 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]