We know that music in film is important and music in Horror movies in particular, is paramount in helping with the atmosphere and the overall impact of those scary situations unfolding on screen (if you dare to look, that is). THE PACT is one of those ever so edgy movies and the score certainly reflects and underlines this factor. Composer Ronen Landa has created an atmospheric and highly tense work. It is a partly experimental and quite modern sounding score but also has more traditional horror movie elements and although it contains 90 percent of what can be labelled atonal music and effects, it also has within its perimeters some softer and more melodic sounding passages which calm and place the listener into a false sense of security, only to shake them out of this seconds later with dark and nerve shattering sounds. I was quite taken aback at the inventiveness and originality of this score and the quality of the orchestrations. The story is set in a haunted house so the composer cleverly recorded sounds from his own house, which included a number of kitchen items and machines such as a washer dryer and a radiator. He then integrated these into his compositions.
The music, which is performed by a small chamber ensemble, is merged and fused with these sounds and further effects, all of which gel wonderfully, creating a score that is stressful, tense and downright frightening. Sinewy sounding strings at times screech and burst forth from the composition, literally startling the listener. These combined with an array of percussive elements, solo piano and some sounds which, for want of a better description, are half heard tones and part developed themes, generate an atmosphere filled to the brim with foreboding, apprehension, anxiety and dread, relaying an air and feeling of desperation. Amongst all of this masterfully written fearful music there is a glimmer of light and sanity in the cue “Her Little Dreams” (Theme From The Pact). This is a simple, intimate and affecting piece, performed on solo piano which plaintively picks out a delicate and fragile theme. Solo violin joins the piano mid way through the cue augmenting and complimenting it and together the two solo performances coalesce to create a short lived but beautifully, moving and simplistic tone poem; both engaging and lingering. This theme or at least whispers of it recurs throughout the score but seldom fully develops, as in track 8 “Pedants” in which violin takes centre stage with piano subtly punctuating proceedings until they are overpowered by a darker and more ominous sound which has been acting as a low key accompaniment. To say THE PACT is just another score for another horror movie would do it an injustice because this is not the case. It is a superior, intelligent and well written score that will delight and maybe even frighten many a collector of quality film music. Highly recommended.