“Talk to Me” has emerged as one of the biggest horror phenomena of 2023. The twisted seance-gone-wrong story — which marks the directorial debut of YouTube stars Danny and Michael Philippou — made a buzzy debut at the Sundance Film Festival before turning into a theatrical hit in the dog days of summer. The success proves that its first-time directors are anything but a gimmick — and a sequel has already been announced. If that wasn’t enough, the Australian film has earned the endorsement of New Zealand’s biggest genre filmmaker, Peter Jackson.
The “Lord of the Rings” director — who cut his teeth making gory independent horror films before turning his attention to the Middle Earth and restoring documentary footage — released a statement praising the film for its shock value and intensity (via NewsHub).
“‘Talk to Me’ isn’t just good – it’s very very good. The best, most intense, horror movie I’ve enjoyed in years,” Jackson wrote. He added that the film is “relentlessly scary and disturbing — in the best possible way.”
“Talk to Me” is the latest entry in a long string of unambiguous successes in the horror space for A24. In addition to Jackson’s praise, film has enjoyed impressive staying power at the box office amid strong critical reviews.
“A bundle of taut nerves stretched to their vomit-inducing breaking point, ‘Talk to Me,’ the directorial feature debut from Australian brothers and Youtube stars Danny and Michael Philippou, is the type of horror film whose effectiveness arises from its barebones simplicity,” Robert Daniels wrote in his IndieWire review of the film. “It asks: What if ‘Flatliners’ was rendered as a Monkey’s Paw for the teenage audiences that fuel today’s viral videos? What would the consequences, outside of personal shame (and minor embarrassment), be for those fame addicts? The film’s answer to these questions is stunning, if not an unbearable nightmare.”