Talk To Me: The Ending Could Be Far More Evil Than You Think

Contains spoilers for "Talk To Me"

While the pink flumes of smoke left from Barbenheimer are only just beginning to fade, the Philippou brothers, Danny and Michael, have chilled the air with an astonishing horror debut in "Talk to Me," which has gained massive praise from critics. Adding another unnerving entry in Australian horror, the film sees a group of teens shake the hand of a force they don't understand, leading them to suffer dearly for it and the audience flinching and staring anywhere but at the screen in the process. At the center of the terror is Mia (Sophie Wilde), who uses what might as well be the severed hand from Lucifer's jewelry store to get a grip on the grief she can't shake. As we know now, it ends with a tragic battle against something terrifying and Mia finding herself on the wrong side of a handshake.

There's no question it was a pretty gruesome journey that got Mia to the other side, but could some critical details throughout the Philippous' spine-tingling tale suggest those pulling her over had a handle sooner than we thought? Plenty of no-nos were made by the group who dared to shake the hand from hell, and it might have been just those actions that had us fooled from the start. So take our embalm-free hand, and let's let you in on what might be the true evil nature of 2023's biggest terror so far. Ready? You know what to say.

Talk to me.

Was the door left open earlier than we thought?

In a film riddled with doubt and second guesses, it's worth noting the only certainties "Talk to Me" has — its rules. Before Mia gives the grim game a go, Hayley (Zoe Terakes) explicitly states, "Light the candle to open the door. Blow it out to close it." The problem is, as we later learn following Riley's brutal and bloody go, did the door ever really get closed at all? It's certainly something to consider, but it's a mistake that perhaps was made earlier than even Mia suspects.

During Mia's initial encounter with the spirits, it's clear that whoever has taken over the group's newest soul isn't giving up without a fight. It takes both Hayley and Joss (Chris Alosio) to break the connection from the hand, and among the panic, those around Mia are fearful it might not happen. 

When she finally does let go, we're shown a split second of the candle's flame dying out, but it's hard to determine whether it was one of the actual guests who blew it out or whether it was the breeze from the group's hustle and bustle that did it instead. If it was the latter, the spirits had their grip on Mia from the start. They knew her secrets and, more importantly, what she wanted to hear when she believed it was her mother speaking to her through Riley and not someone else who, as Hayley warned, wanted to stay.

Mia gets put out of her misery

It's hard to determine what is the bleakest part of "Talk To Me," whether it be a decaying woman sucking someone's foot or a teenager giving a dining table a repeated close inspection with his face (all before pulling his eye out). There's no doubt, however, that Mia's moment of realization at the movie's close leaves a haunting impact that echoes what came before.

After fighting back the darkness in her final moments, Mia sacrifices herself to save Riley and, in doing so, takes a trip that feels eerily familiar. The imagery is an obvious reflection of her drive at the start of the film with Riley, when they both came across a kangaroo dying on the road and Mia didn't dare to do what had to be done, leaving it to die slowly on its own. That state of limbo between living and dead is precisely what Mia experiences as she takes a few steps down the road due to her actions and her passing into the hereafter. It's what follows that might have us questioning whether it is a dream-like sequence of Mia's or the cruel spirits that lead her into that situation.

A descent from a dream or a glimpse into the future?

The final moments of "Talk To Me" manage to walk down the same ambiguous hospital hallway as another beloved horror ending with candlelight did. The finale shares several beats with "The Descent" from 2005, both with the hallway lights going out one by one and with Mia sitting by candlelight, illuminated by the severity of her situation. Like Neil Marshall's cave-dwelling creep-fest, "Talk to Me" plays around with an ambiguous exit that might not be of Mia's making.

While it's great to see Riley up and about and all smiles with his family, Mia's dad (Marcus Johnson) ignoring his daughter's cries suggests this is all a facade and her last lingering moments of mortality might not be hers. While it could be Mia's subconscious before she passes, it's just as likely there are darker forces at work that make it all the more disturbing. 

If the theory of failing to close the door on the first try is correct, this could be the spirits playing with her one last time before she's stuck with them forever. They made her believe she'd been talking to her mom all this time, so this could be a bittersweet glimpse into a future that may never come to pass. All she can do now is talk it out with whoever wants to listen.