Musical Score By: Christopher Young
Distributed by: Lakeshore Records
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Based on the Korean horror film Janghwa Hongryeon (A Tale of Two Sisters), The Uninvited stars Emily Browning as Anna, a young woman who is coming home after a ten month stay in a psychiatric hospital, where she has been since the death of her mother. What should be a happy event – a reunion with her beloved father (David Strathaim) and sister Alex (Arielle Kebbel) – becomes a nightmare as Anna learns that her father is now engaged to her mother’s former nurse, Rachel (Elizabeth Banks). Anna’s own suspicions about Rachel are enhanced by visitations from spirits who warn her against the woman. But how can Anna prove that Rachel is not the kind, caring person she pretends to be without sounding like she needs to be re-admitted to the psychiatric hospital?
The musical score of The Uninvited was created by New Jersey-born composer Christopher Young whose film credits include the musical scores of Hellraiser, Spider-man 3, Swordfish, Copycat, Species, The Grudge 1 & 2, Ghost Rider, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Untraceable, Sleepwalking and more. In addition to the numerous film scores he has created, Christopher Young has also worked as an educator, teaching a film scoring class at USC for over ten years. He also served as a two-term president of The Film Music Society and as the president of the Madrid Film Music Festival in Spain.
Christopher Young is no stranger to the scoring of horror films and thus, he knows that the music is just as much a part of the scare factor as the visuals in such a film. The music in a horror film should always heighten the intensity and quicken the heartbeat and Christopher Young sought to do just that in his scoring of The Uninvited. His use of children’s vocals is incredibly effective in achieving the height of spookiness needed to pull this off. Remember how creepy it was to hear the children singing the Freddy Krueger song at the beginning of Nightmare on Elm Street? How about the choir of children singing in the opening credits of The Amityville Horror? That sound is enough to send chills up my spine to this day. Christopher Young uses the vocals of Sara Niemietz to achieve this affect. He also employs the vocals of the Yale Women’s Slavic Chorus to heighten the affect. Whispers in the background provide the ultimate in creepiness on tracks 5, 10 and 12.
The rest of the soundtrack leaves the listener with two impressions about the goings on in the film. Violins and keyboards create a melancholy affect while instruments played in lower registers create a sense of foreboding. Important events taking place in the film are underscored with music that escalates in both register and crescendo.
Christopher Young has certainly accomplished what he set out to do when he created the musical score for The Uninvited. His composition leaves the listener feeling all of the emotions experienced by the characters in the film. There is a sense of longing and melancholy for what has been lost. We feel the foreboding as the sisters realize that something is just not right about the death of their mother and the relationship between their father and their mother’s former caregiver. And of course, there is the creepy, freak-out sensation heightened by the whispers and the choral singing that accompanies the visitations from the spiritual world sending chills right through the listeners as if they were experiencing the visitations themselves. Christopher Young has done an excellent job in creating a musical score that adds a heightened sense of horror to the visuals and storyline of The Uninvited.