A24's new horror flick Talk to Me revolves around an embalmed hand that when touched, gives the other person a connection between the worlds of the dead and the living. In the film, a group of high schoolers use the thing at parties and record themselves on social media—you hold the hand, say “talk to me,” and a spirit possess you for 90 seconds. But things go very south when Sophie Wilde’s Mia uses the hand longer than anyone else and ends up bringing something back with her.
Talk to Me’s directing duo, brothers Danny and Michael Philippou previously spoke with io9 about jumping into the horror movie scene and the uniqueness of their film. Danny (who co-wrote the movie with Bill Hinzman) also spoke with GamesRadar talked about some of the film’s influences, with one of them being a time he watched his neighbor experience drugs for the first time. Phillipou recalled seeing that neighbor “[have] a really negative reaction to what he was taking, and all his friends weren’t helping him, they were filming him and laughing at him.” Similarly, he mentioned receiving a short film from Daley Pearson—who played Daryl in Marvel’s Team Thor short—about kids screwing around with possession. Though that video was more comedic, it drove Phillipou to take a crack at that film and play around with its initial concept.
“I changed the tone, made it a bit more serious,” he said. “I set up a few characters I was connecting with, like Jade, Mia, and Riley, and then once I started writing, I couldn’t stop.” He had around 10 pages of a script in a little over a week, and he and Hinzman eventually “started passing it back and forth. It changed a lot throughout that process, it was constantly evolving.”
When talking to io9, the Phillipou brothers touched on how they came up with the hand’s design, revealing that its final version didn’t come until the day its scene was shot. Danny told GamesRadar the hand didn’t factor into the film’s actual story until its second draft. In centering the movie around it, he and Hinzman “wanted the hand to have a real sense of history, and to make clear that this thing has been passed around between hundreds of people, and been all over the world.”
Talk to Me is in theaters now.
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