Originally titled THE FORLORN. THE DONNER PARTY was released in 2009, it was the directorial debut of film maker Terence Martin who was credited as T. J Martin. Based on true events the film tells the story of a group of settlers who are making their way west towards California, but on route they find themselves snow bound in the Sierra Nevada mountains, in time food becomes scarce and a small group of the settlers who adopt the name of THE FORLORN HOPE turn to cannibalism to survive. The movie starred Crispin Glover, Michelle Santopietro, Clayne Crawford and Christian Kane. The atmospheric musical score was by Irish composer, conductor Eimer Noone, it is a subtle but dramatic work. The soundtrack is mainly orchestral as in symphonic with a few supportive synthetic moments and also includes choral work that is reminiscent of the style of the style of composer George Fenton in places.
The composer does a wonderful job of combining choir and strings to great effect. Although not a grand or epic sounding score it has a wonderfully imposing and affecting sound and style. The use of strings and also woods is stunning either when fused together or given individual airings, they create a poignant and at the same time unsettling musical persona. The use of percussion too is done imaginatively, for example in the track STARVING BODY STARVING SOUL, percussion takes the lead as a breathy woodwind solo is laid over the top to purvey an atmosphere that although melodic is also dark and threatening. The score contains impressive solos from violin or maybe fiddle which too create a somewhat apprehensive sound, this being evident within track number 12, HUNGER BECKONS. The score is one that is interesting and innovative, with inventive orchestrations and lilting melodies that are haunting. The track SORROWFUL LANDSCAPE I found most attractive and uplifting, strings again creating a sombre but romantic air. Choir is also used within the cue PRIMAL COMPASS, the composer combining voices of children with percussive elements, the effect being chilling and somewhat sinister. This sound also raises its head within THE COLD HANDS OF DEATH, with whispering voices being half heard under sinewy strings that makes for a really uncomfortable listen. I know this is a soundtrack that has been out for a while now, but it is certainly worth sampling.