There’s been a bit of buzz surrounding Jessica M. Thompson’s The Invitation, a horror film inspired by Bram Stoker’s literary classic, Dracula. What I hope will get noticed as part of that discussion is Dara Taylor’s endlessly uncomfortable but always intriguing score, a track from which Vehlinggo premieres today.
Taylor’s name will be familiar to some: She co-scored Barb and Star Go To Vista Del Mar and was in the captain’s chair for the music for George Clooney’s The Tender Bar. She’s also worked with composer Chris Lennertz on titles like Bad Moms, The Boys, the newer Lost in Space series, and Supernatural. For The Invitation — the score for which hits all the digital platforms tomorrow via Madison Gate Records — Taylor taps into her deep reserve of talent to complement the particular kind of horrors that family drama can bring. (The film centers on a woman named Evie finding out some deeply disturbing elements of her family tree. More on this later.)
Note the intersection of minor-key orchestrations and soul-seering (but tempered) sound design that cultivate a connection to the messed up events at-hand in the film without coming off as trying too hard to scare you. This is crucial to a successful score for any picture, but in genre films a score that does more heavy lifting than it should can be distracting. Taylor, with acoustic and electronic tools in hand, avoids all of this with ease. Because she’s amazing. Here’s what Taylor had to say about her score, in a statement to Vehlinggo.
“I loved working on The Invitation because both director Jessica Thompson and the film encouraged me to really think outside the box when it came to sound palettes and motifs,” Taylor said. “I used strange esoteric synthetics, processed found sounds, and processed vocals, which I then blended with a large gothic orchestra to mirror the blend of modern and gothic in the story. An added fun bonus was finding ways to add bits of romanticism within the fabric of the story while keeping a feeling of unease. I was also thrilled that Jess and I were so in sync on the prevalent use of female vocals throughout the score.”
About The Invitation
Screen Gems’ The Invitation tells the story of Evie (Nathalie Emmanuel), whose mother dies and leaves her with no remaining (known) relatives. Evie takes a DNA test and discovers a long-lost cousin. The newfound family invites her to a lavish wedding in the English countryside and she’s initially seduced by the sexy, aristocratic host. However, she’s soon tossed into a nightmare of survival as she learns some unsound family secrets and the profane intentions behind the family’s too-good-to-be-true benevolence.
Directed by Jessica M. Thompson. Written by Blair Butler. Produced by Emile Gladstone. Executive Producers Michael P. Flannigan and Jessica M. Thompson. The film stars Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Doherty, Stephanie Corneliussen, Alana Boden, Courtney Taylor, Hugh Skinner, and Sean Pertwee.
The film is out in theatres tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 26.
The Invitation (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Tracklist
- It Ends Here (3:21)
- Carfax Manor (1:13)
- Housekeeping (2:09)
- Evie Meets Walt (2:03)
- Cellar (2:52)
- Ice House (0:56)
- Evelyn Alexander (1:22)
- Night Terrors (0:51)
- Spa Day (2:30)
- The Dinner (4:44)
- Your New Home (3:04)
- Evie’s Escape (3:31)
- Don’t F This Up for Everyone My Dear (0:59)
- The Wedding (10:33)
- I Hope You Burn – Revenge (3:33)