Talk to Me directors explain how The Babadook inspired the new horror movie

Talk to Me movie
(Image credit: A24)

Talk to Me, perhaps the first Australian horror movie since Jennifer Kent's The Babadook to have huge breakout potential, was influenced by its hit predecessor – but not in the way you might think. It wasn't so much that filmmaker brothers Danny and Michael Philippou saw the atmospheric flick and set out to make something similar, it's that they worked on it and wanted to replicate the behind-the-scenes vibes they experienced on its set.

"It's a weird circle," says Michael, who made a name for himself alongside his twin via their YouTube channel RackaRacka, in the new issue of Total Film magazine, which is out on newsstands on Thursday, June 22.

"I saw with Jen on that film… I knew it would be good because she cared so much about every frame. She wasn't there for a paycheque. She wanted to make the best film possible and everything meant so much to her. I love this and that's the energy I wanted to have with ours as well."

Kent's Babadook centers on a widowed single mother (Essie Davis) struggling to raise her troubled son – a task that becomes all the more difficult when he becomes convinced of a monster's presence in their home. The Philippous' outing, however, revolves around a group of teens who find out the hard way why you shouldn't conduct a séance at a boozy party. 

Mia (Sophia Wilde), having not long lost her mother, is particularly keen to converse with those on the other side – though the spirits they manage to contact turn out to be anything but friendly. Alexandra Jensen, Joe Bird, Otis Djanji, Zoe Terakes, and Lord of the Rings' Miranda Otto round out the supporting cast.

Elsewhere in the interview, the duo named William Friedkin's The Exorcist as another  source of inspiration. "It's such a cliché answer, but [it] is so incredible," says Danny. "Those characters don't feel like film characters, they feel like real people."

Talk to Me releases on July 28 in the UK and US, and this is just a snippet of our interview in the new issue of Total Film magazine, which features Netflix thriller Heart of Stone on the cover. The magazine hits shelves this Thursday, June 22. Check out the covers below:

Total Film's Heart of Stone issue

(Image credit: Robert Viglasky/Netflix/Total Film)

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Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood. 

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