There has in recent years been a veritable onslaught of movies of the shock/horror variety. THE CONJURING,PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and SINISTER to name but three. These horror fests and others like them have in effect given the horror genre more credence as they are not just slasher tales or things that go bump in the night fests, but they contain storylines(some based on true events) that require a certain amount of thought and concentration from watching audiences, so in effect they have been instrumental in aiding the evolvement of the genre. Along with these thinking mans tales of horror also comes a new direction in the musical scores for these types of films and the score for OCULUS by the Newton brothers is certainly no exception to this trend. OCULUS contains a vibrant and pulsating soundtrack which is a mix of sound design synthetic and symphonic, the composing duo who have become ever more active over the past 5 years in the writing of music for films and have produced a score that is edgy, foreboding, harrowing, apprehensive and just downright scary. The fusion of both synthetic and symphonic elements within the score is seamless and highly original, the music and musical sounds although being atonal and at times quite harsh still retain elements of melody which do rise to the surface giving the listener a respite from the fearsome and malevolent sound that is achieved throughout the majority of the work. The score comprises of metal scrapes, off key instrumentation and a constant pulse that runs throughout the work representing the ever present mirror. Track number 4, YOU PROMISED ME is one of the more calming interludes, strings perform a slow adagio that is short lived but also highly affecting, creating an atmosphere that posses a slight touch of melancholy and relays a sense of solitude or reflection. This theme or at least a variation of it returns in track number 33, A MOTHERS EMBRACE, on this occasion it is introduced and interspersed with more ominous sounding music but the theme rises and swells becoming more romantic, emotive and fulsome. Track 35, is a little more up tempo but still retains the rich darkness and fearful atmosphere of the score, re mixed by Paul Okenfold, OCULUS-REMIX, is an interesting take on certain elements of the main score, children’s choir being brought into the equation to lend an even more sinister air to the proceedings. The Newton brothers have certainly created a soundtrack that is attention grabbing and also a score that has a unique and individual sound to it. Okenfold also worked on the final track on the CD a vocal which is performed by Greta, this is an enticing and also a little bit of an unsettling listen, but saying this it is probably a cue that will be returned to many times, it is haunting and infectious with a slight offbeat backing, the composition building and moving slowly but surely to its conclusion. The soundtrack Cd is made up of a number of short and sharp cues all of which combine to make up a really chilling but attractive listening experience.
The score works superbly in the movie and as a fan of quality film music I have to say it certainly has more than a few glorious moments away from the images it was intended to enhance. Available on Varese Sarabande.