Tarot, a spine-tingling journey into the supernatural

EVER since Talk to Me hit cinemas in 2022, the teen horror genre has experienced a surge in popularity, drawing viewers in with its eerie atmosphere and gripping suspense.

Now, a fresh addition to the genre has arrived, introducing a unique twist by incorporating the age-old practice of tarot card reading. This new film, titled Tarot, offers viewers a thrilling experience that blends classic horror elements with the mystique of fortune-telling games.

Tarot takes viewers on a gripping journey into the supernatural. Set in a secluded mansion nestled in the Catskills area of New York State, the film follows a group of college friends who stumble upon a collection of ancient astrology artefacts, including a deck of tarot cards.

Driven by curiosity, the group of friends dives into the world of tarot card readings, oblivious to the dark forces they are about to awaken. Ignoring the sacred rule of using only their own deck, they unleash a vengeful evil trapped within the cards, seeking retribution for past wrongs. What follows is a terrifying experience, as they find themselves hunted down one by one in horrifying ways, each linked to their tarot card readings.

As the survivors race against time to break the curse and evade death’s grasp, they must confront the evil spirits lurking in the shadows. With each unexpected twist, Tarot keeps audiences gripped with suspense, delivering a rollercoaster of supernatural thrills and spine-chilling suspense, punctuated by well-timed jump scares that keep viewers constantly on the edge of their seats.

Nostalgia-driven horror flick

While the concept may seem familiar at first glance, directors Anna Halberg and Spenser Cohen bring a fresh perspective to the horror genre, infusing Tarot with nostalgic charm and iconic 80s-style monsters.

Filmed in Serbia, the movie draws inspiration from Nicholas Adams’ 1992 book Horrorscope and cleverly utilises southeastern European locations to create a distinct gothic aesthetic. Despite being set in the US, the film’s unique visual style sets it apart from its peers. With a modest budget of US$8 million (RM37.7 million), Tarot demonstrates that quality horror does not necessarily require a blockbuster budget. In fact, horror remains one of the most profitable genres in cinema.

The decision to rename the film from Horrorscope to Tarot earlier this year was a strategic move, aligning the title more closely with the film’s central theme and enhancing its relevance. In today’s digital age, where search engine optimisation is crucial, such adjustments are not uncommon and can significantly impact a film’s visibility and appeal.

By choosing Tarot as the title, the film’s marketing strategy effectively emphasises the significance of tarot cards within the storyline, distinguishing it from its original source material and highlighting its unique selling point. This subtle yet impactful change underscores the film’s focus on the world of tarot and its role in driving the narrative forward.

$!The casting in Tarot is well-executed, with each actor bringing depth and authenticity to their respective roles.

Great casting

Jacob Batalon, best known for his role as Peter Parker’s loyal friend in the Spider-Man trilogy, shines in Tarot with his charismatic presence and impeccable comedic timing. His performance adds a refreshing dose of humour to the ensemble, enhancing the overall dynamic of the cast.

Joining Batalon are a talented group of actors including Harriet Slater, Wolfgang Novogratz, Aiden Bradley, Avantika Vandanapu, Larsen Thompson and Humberly Gonzalez. Together, they create a compelling ensemble that effectively portrays the camaraderie and chemistry of a close-knit group of friends.

In addition, Olwen Fouere delivers a standout performance as the seasoned tarot expert, infusing her character with wisdom and gravitas. With a distinguished career spanning three decades, Fouere brings a wealth of experience to her role, elevating the authenticity of the film’s supernatural elements.

Excessive jumpscares

Tarot benefits from the visually striking design of its supernatural entities, courtesy of concept illustrator Trevor Henderson. The eight entities introduced in the movie, including the High Priestess, The Hermit, The Magician, The Hanged Man, The Fool, Two of Pentacles, Death, and The Devil, serve as intriguing focal points of the storyline.

However, the excessive use of jump scares throughout the film undermines the creation of a sustained atmosphere of dread and tension. Instead of building a sense of anticipation and suspicion, the frequent jump scares feel repetitive and predictable, diminishing their effectiveness in generating genuine fear among audiences.

As a result, the film misses an opportunity to fully capitalise on its potential for delivering a more memorable and immersive horror experience. While jump scares can be an effective tool when used sparingly and strategically, their overuse in Tarot detracts from the film’s ability to establish a lasting sense of suspense and terror.

$!Tarot promises to offer audiences a thrilling and eerie experience.


Overall, Tarot offers an entertaining experience for viewers seeking a teenage supernatural horror movie filled with adrenaline-pumping moments. While it may not reach the heights of intensity seen in other horror films, its moderate level of gruesome killings and encounters with demonic forces still provide thrills without overwhelming viewers.

As the movie gains traction, it is likely to find its way onto popular streaming platforms like Netflix, where it can reach a wider audience and be enjoyed from the comfort of home. Since the genre is still evolving, we can anticipate more films of this kind hitting the screens in the future, offering audiences new thrills and chilling experiences.

Tarot is showing in cinemas nationwide.

Director: Spenser Cohen & Anna Halberg

Cast: Harriet Slater, Jacob Batalon, Wolfgang Novogratz, Larsen Thompson, Humberly Gonzalez and Olwen Fouere

E-VALUE: 7/10

ACTING: 7/10

PLOT: 6/10