With its fey atmospherics and ethereal performances, there’s a fairytale quality about ‘The Unfamiliar.’ The accompanying video shows Anna Wolf and Pop Morrison performing, interspersed with clips from the film, appearing like spectral presences outside the narrative.
Anna’s voice here recalls the otherworldly aesthetics of Kate Bush and Joanna Newsom as the track plays around with the dynamics of loud and quiet, bright and dark, with subtly layered intricacy. Pop Morrison’s production is replete with screaming banshee guitar leads and hauntingly mixed reverberating backing vocals. The sum of all this is a haunting and memorable performance that finds beauty amidst the occult psychodrama of the film.
Anna Wolf is a singer-songwriter and holder of multiple awards for her piquant, poignant and highly idiosyncratic music. Pop Morrison is the alias of Jamie Morrison, currently the drummer of Stereophonics, and under this moniker, an explosive madcap music producer in his own right. Before writing, the duo was sent a private link of The Unfamiliar to discuss the song’s direction with the film’s director and co-writer Henk Pretorius. Anna says: “We took a metaphorical approach with it to convey the forever-building eerie tone of the film. The lyrically-driven song is also a homage to the nostalgia that the film evoked in me as a fan of The Shining and Hitchcock’s Psycho.” The final result lived up to the vision of its filmmakers, with Henk Pretorius saying of it: ““Anna Wolf and Pop Morrison’s music dreamily conveys the dark lure of The Unfamiliar. I got emotional when I heard what they created.”
The Unfamiliar is an independent horror film, set in the UK and Hawaii, showcasing a melting pot of rising British, European and South African crew and cast members. Directed by Henk Pretorius and produced by Llewelynn Greeff and Barend Kruger, the Anglo-French Jemima West (Indian Summer, The Mortal Instruments) stars as British Army doctor Elizabeth ‘Izzy’ Cormack, returned from war to rekindle her relationship with her estranged family.
Alarmed by the numerous inexplicable activities around the house, Izzy seeks ineffectual professional help before confiding in her husband. He believes that she is going through PTSD and advises her to rest and recuperate in Hawaii. It’s there that she gets sucked into the underworld of Hawaiian mythology, as she attempts to piece together the elaborate and elegant puzzle to reveal an ancient and terrifying spiritual presence haunting her family.