Talk to Me (2023): Is the Horror Movie Inspired by Real Life?

The Danny and Michael Philippou directorial, ‘Talk to Me,’ is a supernatural horror movie that centers upon a group of friends who somehow connect to the spirit world and conjure spirits using an embalmed hand. As they become hooked on the adrenaline rush it provides, they start doing it for fun. However, when one of the friends in the group stays in prolonged contact with the spirit through the hand for a long time, things start going from bad to worse.

Opening the door to the spirit world, the group’s carelessness unleashes some terrifying supernatural forces into the real world and threatens the lives of them all. Starring Sophie Wilde, Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Dhanji, Zoe Terakes, and Miranda Otto, the horror thriller film consists of several seemingly realistic themes and elements, including séances, believing the legitimacy of which depends from person to person. Thus, if you are someone who believes that séances do work in real life, you must be wondering if ‘Talk to Me’ is rooted in reality or not. Well, in that case, let’s explore the same in detail, shall we?

Talk to Me is Entirely Fictional

‘Talk to Me’ is not based on a true story. However, Danny Philippou and Bill Hinzman based their gripping and hauntingly entertaining screenplay on an original concept by Daley Pearson. The pair of screenwriters then made the most of their creative minds and impressive writing skills and, as a result, conjured up the intriguing yet realistic storyline of the Sophie Wilde starrer.

When it comes to the idea of a haunted hand, which is quite a unique concept on its own and the heart of the movie, Danny Philippou, revealed that it all started when he was involved in an accident at 16. Hospitalized, he couldn’t stop shaking, despite the doctors’ best efforts to make him warm and cozy with extra blankets and keeping the heaters on. In a July 2023 interview with Roger Ebert, he talked about it in detail as he shared, “And then, my sister sat next to me. She held my hand, and the shaking just stopped. The touch of someone I love brought me out of this state of shock that I was in.”

Danny expanded on how he drew inspiration from that, stating, “How hands relate to human connection was always such a strong idea in my mind. All the way through the script’s first draft, before we even found the (concept of the embalmed) hand, hands were such a big motif, a recurrent thematic concept representing connections between people. It lent itself to the film. And when we inserted that (embalmed hand) in the second draft, it was like it had been there all along. It made so much sense.” Apart from this incident, there have been more sources of inspiration that pushed the filmmakers to bring their concept to life.

According to sources, some movies that inspired them were ‘The Exorcist,’ ‘Let the Right One In,’ ‘Memories of Murder,’ ‘The Vanishing,’ and ‘Return.’ During a conversation with Slash Film in July 2023, the Philippous were asked about the elements they drew from ‘Memories of Murder.’ Admitting that the movie highly inspired them, Danny explained, “The way that Bong Joon-ho is able to merge tone. He’s able to go from horror to drama to comedy in a matter of minutes, and it all feels like one coherent piece. It’s blending genre seamlessly, which he’s a master of.”

Interestingly, the filmmaker brothers even took inspiration from Jennifer Kent’s ‘The Babadook‘ but not concerning its screenplay or themes. Instead, they were influenced by the behind-the-scenes vibes they experienced on its set and attempted to replicate it on the set of ‘Talk to Me.’ Thus, considering all the points mentioned above, it would be fair to say that some real-life incidents might have inspired the supernatural horror movie, but the story and its characters are nothing but works of fiction.

Read More: Where Was Talk to Me (2023) Filmed?