Review: Spenser Cohen & Anna Halberg’s TAROT

A lot of scary movies have tarot cards in a single scene, very few make tarot cards the centerpiece of their entire story. Plus, I do tarot readings sometimes, so the overall premise of Tarot intrigued me. Written, directed and executive produced by Spenser Cohen & Anna Halberg, Tarot tells the story of a group of college students who rent a luxurious Air B&B, only discover an ancient set of tarot cards among other trinkets in the basement. After getting their future told, each member of the group finds themselves murdered in the same way that the cards predicted. Now, it’s a race to uncover the truth behind the mystery before they’re all in the grave. A clever mix of Jumanji, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Final Destination, Tarot is current available on streaming courtesy of Screen Gems and Sony Pictures.

It’s a shame that this movie wasn’t advertised more, since I only found it by lucky while scrolling through new releases on demand. Tarot was filmed for an estimated $10million and has become a modest box office success, having secured $17.70million at the box office as of this writing. Shot by Alloy Entertainment, Capstone Pictures, Ground Control and Serbia Film Commission, the story takes place in very few locations and even fewer side-characters are introduced outside of the lead cast. Keeping things tight and organized lead way for strong performances from the actors and budget saving measures that went into creating beautiful, creepy villains and special effects. Tarot was produced by Alysa Koplovitz & Leslie Morgenstein and finds cinematography by Elle Smolkin and editing by Tom Elkins & Josh Sgarlata. Props to the directors, producers and other behind the scenes crew for focusing on what makes this film work and fullfilling exactly what was promised.

Based on the novel by Nicholas Adams, Tarot stars Harriet Slater, Adain Bradley, Jacob Batalon, Avantika, Humberly Gonzalez, Olwen Fouere and Suncica Milanovic. All the actors turned in capable performances, and really I couldn’t find a weak one in the bunch. The story, production quality and performances from the actors all were invigorating enough to make me want to read the book by Adams myself. It would be fun to read what made it to screen and what is completely original from the book. And let me just say, I love that Tarot reeks of classic horror movie troupes. From the moment the lead cast was introduced, you knew what order they were going to die – and you spend the entire movie just waiting for the hammer to drop. It reminded me of the early 2000s when movies were still about story and suspense and not splatterfests and unnecessary jump scares. It allows for a better experience where the viewers can really dig into the story while waiting for a death scene every 15 minutes.

So far, Tarot is my favorite Hollywood horror film of 2024. It was spooky, suspenseful and full of scares. It thought outside the box and meshed tarot readings with astrology and other “taboo” topics. I would totally be down to watch the sequel, if one was ever made. Well done!

Final Score: 8 out of 10

Michael DeFellipo

(Senior Editor)

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