Former DDB CCO Bob Scarpelli once told me, “All good ideas eventually find a home.” That is certainly the case with the exciting two-year-old horror film, Before I Wake, which premiered on Netflix last Friday after playing overseas.
Directed by Mike Flanagan (Gerald’s Game, Hush) the film stars Kate Bosworth and Thomas Jane as foster parents who welcome an eight-year-old boy into their home.
Cody tells Jessie that he’s terrified to fall asleep, but she assumes it’s just a natural fear for any young child. The couple becomes startled when their dead biological son suddenly appears in their living room. To their surprise, Cody’s dreams can magically become real, but so can his nightmares.
Mark and Jessie are now forced to uncover the truth behind Cody’s mysterious ability before his imagination harms them all.
Before I Wake’s creepy ethereal sound can be credited to the creative team of Any Grush and Taylor Stewart.
The duo, who have been billed as ‘The Newton Brothers’ since 2000, have compiled an interesting credit list of horror films, and according to Grush, who is also Yessian West’s Creative Director, they are not even horror buffs musically.
Between the two, they play piano, guitar, bass, clarinet, flute, accordion, sax, harmonica, percussion, organ, kazoo, and cello. They fuse their classical education with a skill and savvy in electronics and manipulated sounds, to contribute distinct music to a diverse spectrum of film projects and capitalize on having two musical heads.
In the case of the long-awaited Before I Wake, the two co-scored the film with legendary composer Danny Elfman, who most recently worked on Justice League for Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder.
“Working with Danny was kind of a dream,” said Grush adding, “He’s insanely talented and one of the greatest composers alive and just great to have involved.”
Over the course of three to four months, the trio created “nerdy spread sheets” in order to make the process the most efficient when it came to creating cues for the film. Though stressful, because of many moving parts, it was an exhilarating experience for Grush as The Newtons got to work with Elfman’s orchestrator Steve Bartek, who is also Oingo Boingo’s guitarist.
“Steve is just a beast of a musician and great to work with. Just very down to earth,” Grush told Reel Chicago. The duo also used their long-time orchestrator as well, Jason Turbin.
As is the case with films sometimes, something unforeseen happens that delays its release. The film was originally scheduled to be released on May 8, 2015, but was pushed back to September 25, 2015, and later pulled from the schedule due to Relativity Media’s complex and confusing filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The film was then re-scheduled to April 8, 2016, and then re-scheduled to September 9, 2016. Finally, it was then pulled from the schedule.
In June 2016, it was announced that Before I Wake would screen at the Fantasia International Film Festival in July. The film had its North American premiere there on July 31, 2016, while still being distributed by Relativity Media.
Excluding the United States, Netflix released the movie worldwide on April 28, 2017. In December 2017, it was revealed that Netflix had obtained United States rights to the film from Relativity Media, thus owning worldwide rights.
One of the casualties from the film being delayed was the debut of acclaimed child actor, Jacob Tremblay, who was nominated for a SAG award for Room in 2015. The delay understandably disappointed Grush and Stewart. “It was a bummer. The credits originally said, ‘Introducing Jacob Tremblay.’”
But the terrific film is now available for all to see on Netflix. The soundtrack is a powerfully emotional compilation which, at turns, is both beautiful and frightening. You can listen to a couple of the tracks below:
Contact Colin Costello at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @colincostello10.