Tarot Review

A group of friends unleash an ancient evil bound to a sinister deck of tarot cards that starts taking them out one by one in the same fashion as their readings.

by Anna Bogutskaya |
Published on
Original Title:


It is, generally speaking, ill-advised to go into creepy basements in rented mansions. It is also not a good idea to play with the hand-painted, sinister tarot cards found in the aforementioned basement. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the group of college pals in Tarot do.


Based on the 1992 YA novel Horrorscope, co-directors Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg’s debut feature is horror-by-numbers, with characters that scarcely deserve (or get) a name. Instead, they are introduced through their horoscope-assigned personalities, when they convince resident astrology girl Haley (Harriet Slater, doing an Emma Stone-lite) to read their tarot. Almost immediately, the malevolent force attached to the tarot cards starts picking them off, matching their deaths to the specific tarot cards they were dealt.

Walks the line between goofy and gruesome.

The inventiveness of the kills is what salvages Tarot from the depths of the digital bargain bin. The film walks the line between goofy and gruesome, particularly when we get a character’s POV while they are being sawed in half by a supernatural magician, or pummelled to death by loft stairs. Or, for that matter, any scene featuring Spider-Man’s Jacob Batalon, a reliably charismatic presence whose easygoing charm could make a visit to the dentist seem pleasurable. But directors Halberg and Cohen over-rely on screeching, digitally rendered villain jump scares, an approach which deflates the wow factor of their set-pieces.

Almost everything about Tarot is predictable, from the forced jokes in the group dynamic (“Tarot cards are devil shit!” offers one character) to the painfully formulaic twist — but it is to the credit of the movie that it doesn’t overstay its welcome or try to force-feed a Big Important Theme. Tarot aims to deliver a few middling scares, and on that modest mission it — barely — clears the bar.

Tarot is a personality-less horror that doesn’t overly concern itself with either character or plot. It’s here to deliver one thing and one thing only: cool kills.
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