Review: ‘Tarot’ (2024), starring Harriet Slater, Adain Bradley, Avantika, Wolfgang Novogratz, Humberly González, Larsen Thompson and Jacob Batalon

May 9, 2024

by Carla Hay

Larsen Thompson in “Tarot” (Photo by Slobodan Pikula/Screen Gems)

“Tarot” (2024)

Directed by Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg

Culture Representation: Taking place in New York state, the horror film “Tarot” (based on Nicholas Adams’ “Horrorscope” novel) features a predominantly white cast of characters (with one Asian, one African American and on Latina) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: Seven college students experience deadly terror after using a mysterious set of tarot cards that don’t belong to them. 

Culture Audience: “Tarot” will appeal primarily to people who don’t mind watching boring and badly made horror films.

Jacob Batalon in “Tarot” (Photo by Slobodan Pikula/Screen Gems)

Dull and unimaginative, “Tarot” is nothing but a putrid sinkhole of idiotic horror movie clichés involving young people and supernatural serial killings. The ending of this time-wasting junk is absolutely abysmal. “Tarot” doesn’t even have an original title, since there are at least five other movies with the same title.

Written and directed by Spenser Cohen and Anna Halberg, “Tarot” is based on Nicholas Adams’ 1992 “Horrorscope” novel, which is about a serial killer who murders young people, based on horoscopes. “Tarot” actually has more in common with the “Final Destination” movies, which are about cursed young people who know they are going to die a certain way but they try to escape their fates.

“Tarot” (which takes place in New York state) begins by showing seven college students at a rented house in a remote area of the Catskill Mountains. The seven students are all friends and have gathered to celebrate the birthday of one of the friends. The seven pals in this group are:

  • Haley (played by Harriet Slater), the unofficial leader of the group who is also supposed to be the smartest one in this very stupid movie.
  • Grant (played by Adain Bradley), Haley’s love interest who is a generically dependable “good guy.”
  • Elise (played by Larsen Thompson), a “spoiled diva” type whose birthday is being celebrated.
  • Paige (played by Avantika), a not-very-smart ditz, who’s obsessed with social media.
  • Madeline (played by Humberly González), a bland sidekick who is very close to Paige.
  • Lucas (played by Wolfgang Novogratz), a good-looking “bad boy” who seems to be attracted to Madeline.
  • Paxton (played by Jacob Batalon), a talkative wisecracker who tells a lot of cringeworthy jokes.

During this getaway trip at this rented house, Lucas breaks into a locked room that has a sign on the front that says “Private – Keep Out.” The room leads to a dusty basement (of course it does) filled with numerous mementos related to astrology. Inside the basement room, the students find a box with a Zodiac queen illustration on the front of the box and a set of tarot cards inside the box.

Haley is the one in the group who knows the most about tarot cards, since she has been using tarot cards for years. Even though Haley says that it’s bad luck for someone to use tarot cards that belong to someone else, the some of the pals urge her to use the tarot cards anyway. Haley gives tarot readings to everyone in the group, based on their astrology signs and what tarot cards are dealt.

Not everyone in the group wants to get a tarot reading. Grant is the most reluctant and is the most skeptical one in the group. Haley and Grant (who were perceived as the “perfect couple” by their friends) reveal soon after these tarot card readings that they have broken up. Their friends are shocked by this breakup news, but they soon will have life and death matters to deal with whenthey find out they are being targeted by an evil force.

As already revealed in the “Tarot” trailer, the tarot readings have placed a curse on these seven people. Their tarot readings predicted how they would die, while the astrology signs of each person predict how they would each react to these deadly situations. A character from each of the tarot cards comes to life, based on the last tarot card that each person was dealt during Haley’s tarot card reading. The death scenes are not scary and are very sloppily edited.

At one point in the story, it’s discovered that the tarot cards belonged to a high priestess (played by Lucy Ridley), who was persecuted for being a witch in Hungary in 1798. The surviving students enlist the help of a disgraced astrologer named Alma (played by Olwen Fouéré), a stereotypical elderly sage who acts as a guide to less-informed characters in horror movies. “Tarot” is just a mush of poorly staged death scenes, bad dialogue and unimpressive acting until the movie’s ludicrous and moronic ending.

Screen Gems released “Tarot” in U.S. cinemas on May 3, 2024.

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