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What Happened to Mia at the End?

  • “Talk to Me” follows a group of teenagers who commune with spirits using an embalmed hand.
  • The ending of Michael and Danny Philippou’s horror debut might leave audiences with some questions.
  • Warning: Major spoilers ahead for “Talk to Me.”

2023 has been a good year for horror fans, with the likes of “Scream 6,” “Evil Dead Rise,” and “The Boogeyman” all keeping audiences on their toes. But the Australian A24 film “Talk to Me” is already being touted as one of the best scary movies in recent memory, earning itself a 95% critic rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Helmed by Michael and Danny Philppou, twin filmmakers who got their start as YouTubers, the movie follows teenager Mia (Sophie Wilde), who is still grieving her mother’s death and barely has a relationship with her dad, Max (Marcus Johnson). Instead, Mia leans on her best friend Jade (Alexandra Hansen), Jade’s younger brother Riley (Joe Bird), and their mother, Sue (Miranda Otto).

But when Mia, Jade, and Riley go to a house party, their friends show off the embalmed hand of a powerful psychic, who may or may not have been a Satanist. Regardless, the hand has a connection to the other side, letting the person holding it channel spirits when they say (you guessed it), “Talk to me.”

And after lighting a candle and stating “I let you in,” the teenagers allow themselves to be possessed by a visiting spirit for 90 seconds, as a way of getting a buzz. There’s an anti-drug metaphor in there, but it’s never heavy-handed.

Once Mia gets her first taste of being possessed, she quickly wants to do it again out of curiosity. But when a spirit claiming to be Mia’s dead mom gets inside young Riley during a later round of possessions, she pushes him beyond that 90-second time limit, and all hell breaks loose.

A character reveals early in the film that if you die with a spirit in possession of your body, you belong to them as a consequence. And whoever was possessing Riley attempted to take advantage of that loophole, forcing the teen to repeatedly smack his head into the table with a sickening crack before trying to pull his eye out of his head. Riley ends up severely injured and nonresponsive in the hospital, and Mia starts seeing the haunting visions of the spirits, including her mom – without touching the hand.

The story crescendos to a violent, and utterly depressing, conclusion. But audiences might still have one or two questions about what happened to Mia.

Was Mia speaking to her mother, or was it another evil spirit impersonating her mom all along?

Rhea (Alexandria Steffensen) whispering to Mia (Sophie Wilde).


The spirit of Rhea (Alexandria Steffensen) — or another spirit taking her form — whispering to Mia (Sophie Wilde).

A24/Umbrella Entertainment


Mia frequently sees her mother’s spirit talking to her, whispering in her ear and telling her that she needs to save Riley because his soul is being tortured in some form of purgatory. She also tells Mia that she didn’t die by suicide and that Mia’s dad Max gave her an overdose of sleeping pills to kill her.

Because she’s still struggling to deal with her grief and is in denial that her mother died by suicide, it’s understandable why this drives a wedge between Mia and her father. It’s only made worse when he tries to give his daughter some closure by reading her the note that Rhea left behind before she died.

Rhea’s spirit even claims that Max isn’t who he says he is, shortly before Mia is seemingly attacked by a spirit who looks like her father. And in a heartbreaking, shocking moment, Mia stabs her dad in the neck with a pair of scissors while trying to defend herself from the other ghost.

Not only that, but Rhea’s spirit also persuades Mia that she needs to kill Riley to free his soul from the spirits – and promises to look after Riley when he dies. Seemingly convinced by Rhea, Mia kidnaps the comatose young teen from the hospital and tries to push his body into oncoming traffic, because she believes she’s doing the right thing.

So, considering the chaos and carnage that Mia leaves behind after forcing Riley to hold the hand for over 90 seconds, it seems highly likely that it wasn’t Rhea’s spirit that she was talking to for most of the film. The filmmakers left that ambiguous, though.

Where does Mia end up?

Sophie Wilde as Mia in "Talk to Me."


Sophie Wilde as Mia in “Talk to Me.”

A24/Umbrella Entertainment


In one of the film’s final scenes, it looks like Mia is going to push Riley into traffic as his sister Jade rushes to save him. But in the split second, before she kills him, Mia chooses to sacrifice herself instead, though that isn’t shown directly onscreen.

Nevertheless, the aftermath of Mia’s decision leaves her body sprawled out on the road – an interesting parallel to the injured kangaroo on the road she chooses not to mercy kill earlier in the film. Dazed, she gets up and starts walking, quickly finding herself back in the hospital. But she soon realizes that she didn’t walk away unscathed.

Mia understands that she’s dead and now a spirit when she calls out for Jade and Riley – who’s shown having recovered from his coma in quick time jumps – and they don’t acknowledge her presence, as all the hospital lights go out, one by one. Mia’s father also apparently recovers from his injuries, as he’s shown leaving the hospital and not able to hear her calling out to him as well.

It isn’t long before Mia finds herself in a black void, which is then illuminated by a single candle and an outstretched hand. As she grabs the hand, she’s pulled into a random room with a Spanish-speaking partygoer who’s using the embalmed hand just like Mia and her friends did earlier in the film.

Yes, Mia has become one of the very spirits that other teenagers call on when they say those three little words…

“Talk to me.”

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