The plot of Talk to Me (which opens in theatres on July 28) deals with a very dangerous supernatural game a group of teens has made viral.
The ritual goes like this: You sit strapped to your chair, an embalmed hand on the table in front of you. A candle is lit, you put your own hand in the creepy one, and say “Talk to me.” Possession ensues for 90 seconds, then you let of the hand and the candle is blown out, thus closing the door so the spirits can’t stay. Any longer than 90 seconds, and you risk the possession becoming permanent.
In Talk to Me, the creepy ritual has become viral thanks to the numerous teens who record the event on their phones and post the video on social media. Since we have seen dangerous social media challenges become viral in real life, the idea is not really so far-fetched.
Along with Talk to Me, we have a couple of other upcoming films that deal with viral legends.
In April, it was announced that Shudder had picked up Elevator Game, which is based on an intricate step-by-step ritual that originated in Korea and Japan. Of course, many people claimed to have played the game, posting their experiences online, and it has become a viral sensation.
Players must enter an elevator with no outsiders along for the ride, the must take it in a certain sequence: fourth floor, second floor, sixth floor, second floor again, tenth floor, fifth floor. Upon returning to the first floor after this, it is said that you just may end up in a portal that leads to another dimension.
Some people believe that this game was responsible for the very strange demise of Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel in LA. No doubt, the final security footage of Lam in the hotel elevator is very strange and unsettling. Even more unsettling is how and where her body was found. There is a very good documentary on Netflix about the case.
The film Elevator Game introduces us to teenager Ryan, who befriends a group of people who seek to debunk urban legends through their online web series. It seems that Ryan’s sister has disappeared, most likely while playing the elevator game. Elevator Game was directed by Rebekah McKendry, who brought us last year’s Shudder Original Glorious.
Dear David began life as a Twitter thread. In it, BuzzFeed writer Adam Ellis documented his personal experiences with a ghost, a boy that Ellis described (and eerily sketched) as having a horribly dented head. The Twitter thread began in August of 2017 and ran through December, and it is super-creepy and compelling.
Ellis lived in an apartment, and was visited by the ghost regularly. He sometimes suffered with sleep paralysis, and his first encounter coincided with it. He was told that the specter was to be referred to as “Dear David”, and that he could ask David two questions, but not a third. You guessed it, he asked three questions, the ghost continued to visit him, and Ellis did NOT get warm, fuzzy feelings.
The story has so many terrifying elements to it: the sleep paralysis, strange noises and visions, mysterious phone calls, creepy photos, and so much more. I think it could make a terrific film.
That Twitter thread is completely engrossing, and the film based on it is slated to release in October of this year. It stars Augustus Prew as Adam, and Justin Long (Barbarian) as the head of BuzzFeed.