Another classy horror from director Talal Selhami who also helmed movies such as THE FRANKENSTEIN COMPLEX, MIRAGES and SINISTRA. ACHOURA was shot in 2018 and is soon to start doing the rounds at a cinema near you. This is a French/Moroccan horror tale which focuses upon four childhood friends who enjoy scaring each other. The like minded quartet decide to explore an old house which is said to be cursed, one of the children disappears and the three remaining friends attempt to forget what happened on that night, but 25 years later their friend re-appears and eventually the group re-united have to confront what has happened in the past before they can begin to look to the future. The movie which was produced by Overlook films and Orange studios is an edgy and unnerving piece of cinema in which director Selhami painstakingly creates a place where the demon Bougatate who is from Islamic folklore can feed upon children.
Music in horror movies is important, a good score can make a movie and likewise a score that is over the top can destroy that movie, I am pleased to report that composer, Romain Paillot has created a score that not only elevates and underpins the action on screen but also has to it a musical persona that is wonderfully vibrant and addictive. Listening to the score I can hear many gentle nods to horror scores or at least the sounds and styles of horror movie soundtracks from the past. This is a score that is filled with a robust and richly thematic sound, there are wistful and flyaway moments realised via strings and woods, and of course there are ample sections that are dark, sombre and downright blood curdling. But the core of this soundtrack has a romantic and dare I say a melancholy heart. I love the way the composer utilises female wordless vocals, it gives the score an other-worldly sound and also heightens the tension or at times puts the watching audience at their ease, before a moment of shock and violence. No doubt about it ACHOURA is a jumpy and frightening movie, I dare you to sit and watch every minute of it without looking away at least 30 times. The score is for me anyway what a good horror score should be, with its urgent brass flourishes and its sinewy sounding virulent strings that seem to reach out at the listener in an attempt to maybe entwine them and pull them in to what is happening. The female vocals are stunning and effective to the point of being spine tingling. I can not fault this score in any way, it is a supremely driving and tantalising work, that I am confident will be poplar with the majority of film music fans, it’s a horror score, but also is a work that contains more than its fair share of lighter and poignant moments. The main score is by Paillot although there are two cues on the soundtrack that are penned by Ivan Palomares.
In many ways it has an overall sound that is Herrman-esque with touches of Christopher Young that are embellished with a Goldsmith like musical influence, in other words it’s damn good. The driving strings and the rasping brass that is underlined and punctuated by booming percussion do it for me, this in parts is unstoppable and relentless, but all the time remains thematic and powerful, it’s like this is a vintage score and has been tracked onto a new movie, which is in no way a disparaging remark, this is quality. The friendship theme is delicate, fragile and emotive, with the composer employing subtle piano and melodic strings to create a hauntingly beautiful piece, which he also achieves within the cue, LULLABY female vocal again returns supported by piano, both of which are joined by solo violin and then cello which add even more emotion to the proceedings, it is in short stunning. Every cue is class, this will I am sure go down as being one of the better horror scores of 2019. It is unnerving, jangles the senses and also sooths and calms all at the same time. Have you heard it yet? Go buy it now…..