'Tarot' delivers chills despite predictability

Hollywood has a long tradition of horror movies where a group of friends visits a house or old cabin, summons ancient ghosts, and meets a gruesome fate. Notable examples include ‘Cabin in the Woods’ and ‘Evil Dead’. ‘Tarot’, directed by Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg, follows a similar theme. Starring Jacob Batalon, Harriet Slater, Adain Bradley, Avantika, Wolfgang Novogratz, and Humberly González, the movie centres on a group that unleashes evil from a deck of tarot cards.

The movie is a typical ‘we know what’s going to happen next’ experience, but it still offers some entertainment. The jump scares and plot progression are predictable, given the abundance of similar films, but the backstory explaining the evil provides logical context for the audience. The performances of the young, talented cast are quite impressive. Despite the predictable scares, ‘Tarot’ succeeds in maintaining the tension and keeping the scenes genuinely frightening.

The depiction of the malevolent force is crucial, and this movie excels in that regard. The evil entities are genuinely terrifying, and the horror scenes are gruesome and chilling, naturally evoking fear. However, the movie lacks a distinct personality. It’s enjoyable for a one-time watch but doesn’t have any standout elements. Unlike ‘Evil Dead’ or ‘Cabin in the Woods’, which build the mood and prepare us for what’s to come, ‘Tarot’ thrusts us into the spooky world almost immediately, leaving little room for character development. As a result, it’s hard to feel emotionally connected to the characters since we’re given little to no information about them.

The main antagonist in this story is presented in a truly terrifying manner, reminiscent of the entities in ‘The Woman in Black’ or ‘Insidious’. It’s a shame the filmmakers didn’t explore its backstory further. While the film’s ending feels definitive, it’s not uncommon for a story to be reworked, allowing a monster to return in a sequel.


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