Premiering today on Crackle!!
THE SONATA (2020)
Directed by Andrew Desmond
Written by Andrew Desmond, Arthur Morin
Starring Freya Tingley, Simon Abkarian, James Faulkner, Rutger Hauer, Catherine Schaub-Abkarian, Matt Barber, Christopher Brand, James Kermack, Myster Jo, Laine Ligere Stengrévica!
THE SONATA has a winning premise and solid acting, I just wish it had more going for it.
When a talented young violinist, Rose Fisher (Freya Tingley) hears word of the death of her father (Rutger Hauer), a famous composer, she barely bats an eye. When she inherits her father’s estate and the rights to his own musical works, she decides to head over to France and check out the estate. While rooting around through her father’s things, Rose finds the unpublished final work of her father which has bizarre symbols written into the music. While her agent/mentor Charles (Simon Abkarian) tries to get to the bottom of what Rose’s father was working on, Rose plays the music and seems to unlock a portal to let loose evil forces.
The idea that a piece of music, so complex, that it could unlock a doorway to Hell seems like an un-made HELLRAISER script just itching to be brought to life. This is a winner of an idea and I think, someday, someone will make an awesome movie about it. Unfortunately, THE SONATA isn’t that movie. While the idea is there, the execution just feels extremely bland from the uninspired look of the spirits unleashed with white skin and CG red and glowing eyes to the rather slow middle section as Rose mopes around the house and Charlie investigates the mystery of the found music. I think this might have been a more fascinating story to read than it was to play out in a movie. Sure there are some jump scares and a few nightmare sequences to spice up the middle as Rose learns the power of the music, it’s history, and what it has to do with her, but the pace moved too slow and the finish line just didn’t have a punch worth the wait.
It doesn’t help that Freya Tingley plays Rose as a protagonist that is not that sympathetic. I understand she is a dedicated violinist, but the cold and callous way she treats those around her, as well as her cold disposition, really soured any interest or sympathy I had in the character. Yes, this take on the character fits into the story, but from the beginning when she barely quits playing her violin when she hears of her fathers death, it makes for a tough character to get into. Abkarian plays a much more interesting character as an aging musician trying to stay relevant by representing Rose who he has developed a paternal love for. This must have been done close to Hauer’s death and while he always gives a commanding performance, he seems out of breath and frail the few times he is on screen through flashback, premonition, and on videos.
I wish I could say better things about this one. The atmosphere is nice and gothic. And again, that idea of a puzzle in the form of a musical arrangement is a winner (I think it might have been the subject of a HELLRAISER comic book or should be). But the lead’s cold demeanor and the lack of teeth in the scares overpowered to good in THE SONATA.