Composers Andy Grush and Taylor Stewart, aka The Newton Brothers, scored Universal Pictures’ Ouija: Origin of Evil. Directed by Flanagan and written by Mike Flanagan and Jeff Howard, the supernatural thriller stars Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson and Henry Thomas.
About The Newton Brothers’ score for Ouija: Origin of Evil
The Newton Brothers deliver a score that reflects the terrifying suspense and sinister spirits found in Ouija: Origin of Evil. It is their fourth film collaboration with Mike Flanagan, following Hush, Before I Wake, and Oculus. A digital soundtrack to the film will be available day and date with Ouija: Origin of Evil’s theatrical release on October 21.
The Newton Brothers recorded the score in the heart of Nashville’s Music Row at Ocean Way Studio in a restored church—an intentional choice to reflect that one of the principal characters of the film is a priest. Numerous music icons have recorded in the converted 100-year-old Gothic revival church including Dolly Parton, Celine Dion, Megadeath and Blake Shelton.
The studio has the capacity to record an 80-piece orchestra, as well as house the largest circa 1970s Neve console in the world. For Ouija: Origin of Evil, the composers utilized the acoustical space to create a singular score. In addition, to stay true to the film’s era, they intentionally avoided using any modern instruments. In regards to instrumentation, The Newton Brothers stated: “Strings, woodwinds, piano, water phone, percussion and various live-recorded Foley noises were incorporated for added depth and texture.”
In the video below, you can watch The Newton Brothers explain the process behind ‘Ouija: Origin of Evil’ – including all the instrument choices they put a lot of effort into:
After listening to the full score, I can say that it is surprisingly melodic and therefore very enjoyable also for listeners who are not into horror films. But all the more it is an interesting listen for everyone who is up for experimental, not to say atonal orchestral music. The music includes moments comparable to the music in Official Trailer #2, but it is definitely not the overall tone of the score. Goodbye Doris is one of the many tracks for example that include a really beautiful melody.
The trailer above features Brand X Music’s track Degrade followed by Glory Oath + Blood’s They Are Here. You can read more about September’s trailer music placements soon in our upcoming monthly trailer music placement recap.
About composer-duo The Newton Brothers
The Newton Brothers have developed a reputation as innovative composers willing to push the boundaries of film music. 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. The duo has collaborated with highly acclaimed composers, apprenticed under Hans Zimmer, and co-scored with Danny Elfman on Mike Flanagan’s thriller, Before I Wake. The Newton Brothers added chills to Mike Flanagan’s Oculus; emotion to Tony Kaye’s acclaimed classroom drama Detachment; tension to Mike Gunther’s crime thriller Setup, which starred Bruce Willis; and black humor to Pawn Shop Chronicles, which starred Paul Walker. They also lent their “Newtonian” approach to the dark comedy Life of Crime, which starred Jennifer Aniston, and the action-thriller The Prince, which starred Willis and John Cusack. Upcoming projects include Terry Nemeroff’s The Knife Thrower, Brandon Nutt’s The Kimberlite Process, Stacy Title’s The Bye Bye Man, and Gerald Rascionato’s Cage Drive.
You can read more about The Newton Brothers in our article Scoring as a team: The creative approach of The Newton Brothers.
About Ouija: Origin of Evil
It was never just a game. Inviting audiences again into the lore of the spirit board, Ouija: Origin of Evil tells a terrifying new tale as the follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit that opened at No. 1. In 1967 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by the merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.
Ouija: Origin of Evil is produced by Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Purge series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (The Purge and Insidious series), alongside Hasbro’s Brian Goldner (Transformers and G.I. Joe series) and Stephen Davis (Ouija). Mike Flanagan directs from a screenplay he wrote with his Oculus and Before I Wake collaborator, Jeff Howard, and Universal will distribute the film worldwide.