Neither a promising premise nor a government conspiracy can excite the conversation enough to elevate the unfortunately bland “Terror Talk”.
A long-time friend of mine, who shall remain unnamed, is a bit of a government conspiracy enthusiast and a half-hearted doomsday prepper. He doesn’t go full-on preparation for the “end of days,” but he has started to collect an array of weapons to protect himself and his family from government interlopers and desperate citizens looking for a well-fortified home and food.
In my conversations with this friend, he turned me on to some television shows that documented doomsday preppers— as well as a show that was a kind of doomsday gameshow — where preppers used their skills and knowledge to survive in a world gone wild.
I bring this up because the basis of the new movie from The Jalbert Brothers, who directed and produced the movie, sounds like something that my friend would have wanted to watch.
The official synopsis from Jalbert Productions is:
When a virus outbreak causes widespread panic, a doomsday prepper retreats into his new house, believing that he’s safe from the dangers outside, but soon discovers that his house is haunted by terrifying ghosts.
The synopsis is a great hook, but can TERROR TALK hold up its part of the *ahem* conversation?
Kenny (Sean Michael Gloria) holes up in a recently abandoned house to avoid government authorities during a deadly viral outbreak. The house is boarded up well with a stocked refrigerator, an older antenna television, and a CB radio.
The CB radio has a list of contact names and their frequencies, and the former owner was known as “Greyman.” Kenny takes on the moniker of Greyman, and begins to reach out to some of the listed contacts. Kenny connects with three people via the CB: Social Sarah (voiced by Karleigh Chase), Papa Bear (voiced by Daniel Wachs), and Headhunter (voiced by Bob Glazier). Through their conversations we learn that Kenny is a conspiracy theorist who distrusts the government and the media.
Kenny soon learns that there is something going on in the house that may be more immediately dire than the chaos caused by the viral outbreak. Kenny begins to experience the telltale signs that he is in a haunted house. As the paranormal experiences increase and cause Kenny to investigate, he stumbles upon a stack of hidden DVDs that may hold the key to finding out what is happening to him.
TERROR TALK has an interesting premise, and with seeds of distrust being sown against the media and government, it’s easy in some ways to empathize with a character like Kenny.
Here’s the “but” to that statement: TERROR TALK isn’t a movie that capitalizes on how believing in conspiracies and rejecting everything you’re told affects your mind. Believing in nothing and distrusting those around you would make one paranoid, and being trapped in a haunted house would trigger severe paranoia.
Where TERROR TALK fails is that it never allows us, as an audience, feel the paranoia. The movie tries to escalate the tension as the movie goes on, but it all falls so flat that it becomes a banal exercise in watching Kenny argue with voices on a radio, examine scenes from the found DVDs, and reacting to ghostly happenings.
Kenny, as a character, and Sean Michael Gloria, as an actor, are not strong enough to carry the movie. Kenny is in nearly every scene and, for the most part, the only actor in each scene that we can see. There’s nothing for Kenny to empathize or connect with. It’s a gutsy move to make a movie that asks one actor to shoulder the entire movie, but there’s not enough in the story or script to support Sean Michael Gloria.
In the end, TERROR TALK is a bland and uninteresting movie that fails to live up to a very promising premise.