Combustible Celluloid Review - Tarot (2024), Spenser Cohen, Anna Halberg, based on a novel by Nicholas Adams, Spenser Cohen, Anna Halberg, Harriet Slater, Adain Bradley, Jacob Batalon, Avantika, Larsen Thompson, Wolfgang Novogratz, Humberly González, Olwen Fouéré
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With: Harriet Slater, Adain Bradley, Jacob Batalon, Avantika, Larsen Thompson, Wolfgang Novogratz, Humberly González, Olwen Fouéré
Written by: Spenser Cohen, Anna Halberg, based on a novel by Nicholas Adams
Directed by: Spenser Cohen, Anna Halberg
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for horror violence, terror, bloody images, some strong language and drug content
Running Time: 92
Date: 05/03/2024
IMDB

Tarot (2024)

1 Star (out of 4)

Dreck of Cards

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

An ineffective, shameless copy of tons of other "group-of-friends-makes-mistake-and-gets-stalked-by-killer-one-by-one" movies, Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg's horror tale Tarot offers nothing new… not even a decent homage.

Seven college friends — Haley (Harriet Slater), Grant (Adain Bradley), Paxton (Jacob Batalon), Paige (Avantika), Elise (Larsen Thompson), Lucas (Wolfgang Novogratz), and Madeline (Humberly González) — spend a three-day weekend in a rented house in the Catskills, celebrating Elise's birthday. Out of liquor, they begin exploring the house looking for more when they stumble upon a secret room, filled with astrological artifacts.

They find a wooden box containing an ancient set of Tarot cards, and it is suggested that Haley, who has experience in this sort of thing, do a reading for everyone. Back at school, Elise and Lucas quickly meet their ends, and Haley realizes that their deaths — Elise by ladder and Lucas by subway train — perfectly match their Tarot readings. They realize they need to seek help before their number is up.

Walking vaguely in the footsteps of The Evil Dead, Final Destination, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Scream, Wrong Turn, and others, Tarot first makes the mistake of introducing a group of friends that don't seem to have much in common, and given that they're largely underdeveloped and paper thin, there's not much to care about.

Then, they make a series of dumb choices. First, no one notices that they have consumed all their drinks. Then, they decide to break into a room that's clearly marked "Keep Out." Then, they decide to play with the clearly sinister cards. So, to be honest, we can't blame the malevolent spirit behind the cards for taking umbrage.

We also get the typical, "seeking help," sequence and finding a strange shut-in who has been obsessed with the killing for years, but is, eventually, unable to help. She's played here by Olwen Fouéré, who speaks, for some reason, like a TV newscaster, saying things like "Mexico City. 1961. Six people dead." And we get lots of arguing among the friends, lots of cheap jump-scares that are not scary, and lots of twitching monsters that charge at the camera.

Indeed, there are cleverer movies, like The Cabin in the Woods, Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, and Bodies Bodies Bodies, that poke fun at clueless movies like this. "This is definitely a bad idea," one character says at a certain point in Tarot. Too bad the filmmakers didn't listen.

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