“Tarot” Review

It’s based on a book called “Horrorscope,” so…

Despite what appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of how tarot works, new supernatural horror flick Tarot remains pretty fun throughout thanks to some Raimi-core camp and more than a passing resemblance to the beloved Final Destination franchise.

In the new ghosts-gonna-kill-’em-all outing from directors Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg, a gaggle of college-age hotties Airbnb themselves a mansion in the Catskills, whereupon they discover the creepiest deck of tarot cards of all time. Each is hand-painted with horrible images of skeleton monsters and stabbed dudes and melting ghost-like creatures—naturally they get their friend to dole out some readings and naturally that seals their doom.

Turns out the deck is cursed, and everyone starts dying in the manner through which the readings were delivered. This is where dialogue like “don’t let it hang you up” and “you could suffer a crushing blow” comes into play. And you know what? It’s fun as hell. One by one, we see the group dwindle as the creatures from the cards phase into reality. And though the film’s PG-13 rating precludes it from kicking up the gore, some of the creep-out scenes almost err into experimentalism, both in style and execution.

Tarot is crammed with faces you won’t recognize—not counting contemporary Spider-Man alum Jacob Batalon as the comic relief or maybe Mean Girls musical star Avantika—but that’s OK. If nothing else, we almost want them to die, so it’s fun when they do. And though it doesn’t quite reach the po-mo heights of something like 2011′s Cabin in the Woods or the sickening depths of the most recent Evil Dead entry, Tarot becomes another footnote in the long, proud tradition of summertime cinematic scares.

Is this movie stupid? Oh, yes. I mean, it’s based on a book by James D. Macdonald called Horrorscope. But Cohen (who has really been more of a writer) and Halberg (more of a producer) are nothing if not self-aware, and in that self-awareness, they create something delightfully silly among the jump scares and absurdity. One of the greatest things about horror is its low bar of entry. It might possibly be the most universal genre, really, and its outward spiral of sub-genres—such as horror-comedy, which includes the likes of 2017′s Happy Death Day—consistently keeps audiences on our toes. No, you shan’t hear about Tarot come Oscar season, but you will have a hell of a good time watching 20-somethings run away from tarot-themed monsters.


+Fun when it embraces its camp; tarot card art is wild

-Other than Batalon, acting is terrible, even for a popcorn flick


Directed by Cohen and Halberg

With a bunch of dorks, Batalon

Violet Crown, Regal, PG-13, 92 min.

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