Tarot (2024) Movie Review – An ill-conceived spin on Final Destination

An ill-conceived spin on Final Destination

Directed by Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg, Tarot follows a group of college students who rent a place in the Catskills, where a reluctant Haley (Harriet Slater) does horoscope readings for everyone with a tarot deck they find in the basement. In a Final Destination-esque twist, the tarot readings seal the friends’ fates, as they start to die in ways that correspond to their drawn cards. But Tarot won’t land the cult classic status of its predecessor. At least, that would be wholly undeserved.

There’s a lot of potential for a cursed Tarot deck horror story, and the supernatural direction Cohen and Halberg take makes room for some otherworldly terrors. But on the whole, the film doesn’t know what it wants to be; most aspects are lazily conceived. It doesn’t lean enough into its campy elements for a good horror-comedy, it isn’t witty enough to pull off a Final Destination parody, and its abysmal writing keeps it from being seriously considered on any of its own merits.

Tarot’s plot hinges on the existence of a group of friends so close that they feel intense grief over each other’s absence as they get picked off one by one. These characters are too thinly drawn for their grief to be believable, however. The horror is dialogue-heavy to its detriment; the conversations between the college students sound AI-generated. Truly, these are not close friends and couples–they are only caricatures of them. Even Jacob Batalon, who was fairly charming in his Spiderman role, is just abrasive here–written to drop overt jokes and one-liners about what an asshole he is, and… that’s it.

Apart from some interesting elements in its production design that tie into the Zodiac theme, Tarot doesn’t have much unique going for it. There is, of course, Joseph Bisara and Daniel Knox’s wondrously creepy song “I Saw You,” which accompanies the most tensely-directed death scene of the lot. But one standout scene can’t pull together such an incoherent horror film, especially one with an ending so nonsensical, and all for a half-hearted attempt at being funny.

Breaking rules can be subversive, of course; but in the case of Tarot, it’s simply lazy. I’m not saying the film has to take itself more seriously. Horror movies can be lighthearted, stupid, utterly enjoyable, and all this on lower budgets than Tarot’s $8 million. Tarot’s major problem, then? It’s just not fun enough to get away with being so poorly conceived, written, and acted.

Read More: Tarot Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 3/10

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