Is the 2023 Horror Talk to Me based on a true story?

By Louie Fecou
Published: October 3, 2023
Is the 2023 Horror Talk to Me based on a true story?

Theatrically released 2023 supernatural horror Talk to Me could have been mistaken for a Blumhouse shocker, with its ghostly McGuffin and young cast. But looking beyond its tropes, there was a story of loss and trauma that seems to punctuate the horror output from A24. Speculation surrounds the central premise, so with the season of the witch approaching, we thought we would have a look and present a spooky feature that will answer the question of whether Talk to Me is based on a true story.

The story of a stone hand you could grasp as if meeting someone for the first time and then gain access to the spirit world is a pretty standard premise.

We have had lots of stories where an inanimate object offers up access to the realm of the dead, and this takes the concept and spins it by peppering it with modern-day accessories.

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The film has the sheen of youth and energy, and that is no surprise as it was directed by Danny and Michael Philippou, the brothers behind the successful Australian YouTube channel RackaRacka, and you can see the young directors embracing the media that made their name, with the characters regularly posting the supernatural events on their own social media.

The film would go on to be A24’s biggest domestic box office movie, and reviews would be positive for the film, praising the effects and the cast.

The movie will close its own circle in October 2023, receiving a Blu-ray release in time for Halloween, and I am sure that there will be more to come from the brothers, but the focus just now is on the film’s plot.

Coming from a background of YouTube, it could be argued that the film may have been inspired by some of the supernatural content that the platform provides, and if you have a quick look, there is no shortage of material available.

Talk to Me (2023) Plot Explained

Seventeen-year-old Mia is trying to cope with the death of her mother two years ago.

One evening, Mia and her friend Jade sneak out to a party, accompanied by Mia’s little brother Riley, who is in for a rough time throughout this movie.

The party is hosted by Haley and Joss, and it is here that Mia first encounters the stony reaching hand that allows people to access the spirit world.

The rules are set out quite clearly — you hold the hand for no more than ninety seconds, and say “Talk to me.”

A random spirit will then grant you access to their realm, like a spooky version of Omegle.

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Contact must be broken before the time limit is reached or you can suffer terrible consequences, and as various guests at previous parties take turns to experience the hotline to the ghosts, it is recorded and put up on TikTok or something similar.

Mia has a go, but her connection goes over the time limit and it seems the spirits are now interested in Riley. This kick-starts a nightmarish descent into horror that threatens to destroy Mia’s entire life.

Is the 2023 Horror Talk to Me based on a true story?

No, Talk to Me is not based on a true story.

It is a work of fiction, thank goodness, though that isn’t to say that it doesn’t have some basis in real-life ideas, stories, and images.

Is the horror movie based on anything?

It’s hard to say what influenced the writers of the film, but there is no shortage of objects that have ghostly powers in all forms of media from practically the dawn of history.

Ancient civilizations would worship objects that they felt had power, even things such as trees or bodies of water would be considered mystical.

The veneration of objects, known as fetishism, involved worshipping objects by people who believed the things had supernatural powers.

One object that does spring to mind while watching Talk to Me is known as The Hand of Glory.

This was usually a mummified hand, cut from the body of a criminal that had been executed. A famous example of this can be found in Whitby Museum in Yorkshire, England.

If it sounds familiar, you might remember seeing one used in the seventies cult folk horror classic The Wickerman. Edward Woodward awakens to find one on his bedside table, being used as a candle, the fingers alight.

You might also recall seeing another one in Alan Parker’s supernatural detective noir Angel Heart, where the doomed Harry Angel finds one in a box in Margaret Kruesmark’s bedroom.

Whether or not the images of a mummified hand that has supernatural powers stuck in the minds of the directors of Talk to Me, influencing them in their ghostly movie, is speculation on my part, but whatever the influences, Talk to Me is a great movie to put on your Halloween watch list.

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