If you’re looking for an eerie ghost story to kick off your 2020 with, The Sonata looks like a solid candidate. A tale of music, madness, and the supernatural, the film’s trailer has the sort of Gothic gloom you don’t see in enough genre flicks. It appears to value mood and tone over jump scares—a mature choice from director Andrew Desmond, who makes his feature debut with the film. Desmond also co-wrote the script with Arthur Morin.
Filmed mostly in Latvia, the production design and the work of cinematographer Janis Eglitis are on display in every frame of the trailer. And those are the elements that sell it best.
The movie stars Freya Tingley (Once Upon a Time), Simon Abkarian (Casino Royale) as her agent and manager, and the late Rutger Hauer in one of his final film roles.
Here’s an official synopsis from Screen Media Films:
A gifted musician (Freya Tingley) inherits a mansion after her long lost father (Rutger Hauer) dies under mysterious circumstances. She discovers his last musical masterpiece riddled with cryptic symbols that unravels an evil secret.
From the trailer, we can glean a bit more than that. In one moment, veteran character actor James Faulkner tells Abkarian’s character that if the notes of the sonata are played at exactly the right pitch, it could conjure and seduce the antichrist. Now, that is most definitely not consistent with New Testament eschatology. But, for the purposes of the movie, maybe it will work. Antichrist characters/themes are a tough nut to crack in the cinema. Sometimes the expectation of this figure has a lasting impact, like in Rosemary’s Baby. Other times, like in the cornball faith-based Left Behind series, it’s worthy only of ridicule.
No matter where this plot point goes, the trailer is enough to draw my interest. The Sonata will be in select theaters and on demand on January 10. You can check out the trailer below.