Film scores

Soundtrack review: The invitation (Theodore Shapiro – 2016)

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The bar is set for 2016 experimental horror scores.

“The Invitation” is a 2016 American thriller film directed by Karyn Kusama and written by Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi. The film stars Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Michiel Huisman and Emayatzy Corinealdi. Will and Eden were once a loving couple. After a tragedy took their son, Eden disappeared. Two years later, out of the blue, she returns with a new husband… and as a different person, eerily changed and eager to reunite with her ex and those she left behind. Over the course of a dinner party in the house that was once his, the haunted Will is gripped by mounting evidence that Eden and her new friends have a mysterious and terrifying agenda. The score is written by Theodore Shapiro who is having a very productive period.
I know that when I get a Shapiro score the music will not be normal or as expected. Just a month or so ago he surprised me with his intense and dramatic score for “Zoolander no. 2” while I still remember his quirky and exciting “Trumbo” composition. “The invitation” seems to be no different as “Into the canyon” opens it with a repetitive clacking motif worthy of Marco Beltrami’s usual musical experiments. And that’s just the beginning. Shapiro dives into horror territory with “Eden, no”. This one minute long piece made my skin crawl and I felt as if the violin bow was cutting my skin. I don’t even have time to recover as “Finding the pills” almost makes me want to take my headphones off. It’s very rare and quite welcomed for a score to scare me in broad daylight and Theodore Shapiro does enough to make my heart jump in my throat. There’s expecting the unexpected and then there’s this, already one of the most awesome and scary horror scores of the year.
“Claire departs” sounds like a banshee wailing and chasing me in a dream world. The chime sounds and the atmospheric motifs build the setting in which this demon likes to play. I am more and more impressed with “The invitation” as it helps me discover another side of this brilliant composer. The contrast between the gorgeous atmospheric moments and the terrifying ones make this score surreal and fascinating.
And yet I think what I will remember most from this score will be the disturbed and disturbing violin motifs which made me think as if I was part of an insane carnival. They freaked me out and as scary as they were for me I wanted to keep listening because the music sounded that good. If you thought Theodore Shapiro surprised you with “Zoolander” just listen to this one. He is having a terrific start to 2016 and is a frontrunner already for composer of the year. The bar is set for 2016 experimental horror scores.

Cue rating: 91 / 100
Total minutes of excellence: 19 / 35
Album excellence: 54%

Highlights:
Eden, no
The Pills
Claire Departs
The Dinner Hour
I’m Actually Early
Rupture
There’s a Plan for Us
Believe

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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