BEARTREK is a documentary that is presented as an adventure. The conservation movie follows the respected and revered biologist Chris Morgan who embarks upon an epic journey to locate one of the globes the most elusive and endangered bears. In the film we discover what the Bears are facing and what perils that they must encounter in the wild. The film also introduces us to a handful of dedicated and selfless people who are doing everything that they can to stop these beautiful animals from becoming extinct. Documentaries such as this are becoming more and more frequently produced, and in recent years the musical side of things for these productions has also become more and more important. The composing duties on this occasion are undertaken by Jeremy Zuckerman, the composer was responsible for the music to SCREAM the TV series a few years back and has worked on a number of documentaries and small films. His music for BEARTREK is stunningly beautiful and matches the magnificence of the animals that are the subject matter of the movie. The score is filled with a variety of musical styles, and is performed in the main by an array of conventional instrumentation that is supported along the way via synthetic elements. I love the use of cello within the score, it purveys perfectly the solitude and at times the hopelessness that is felt by the animals and the people who are attempting to save them. It is a heart-warming and highly emotive work, and one that one could easily pass by, the composer also makes effective use of female vocals that lace and enhance key scenes within the movie and delicate sounding harp which punctuates many of the fragile and poignant moments within the score. This is one to not just check out, but one to add to our collection and own forever. Recommended.
Benjamin Wallfisch is a composer who has come to the forefront of film music in recent years, and it is hardly surprising seeing that his talent, gift for melody and originality becomes more and more evident with each film he scores. One of his latest assignments is IT CHAPTER TWO, the composer returning to the story after his successful score for the 2017 version of Stephen King’s chilling tale. After a period of some twenty seven years the Losers club have grown into adults and put the horrific events of Pennywise the gruesome clown behind them, until that is they receive a phone call which brings them back together and returns them to their worst nightmares in the form of Pennywise The score is in my opinion better than the soundtrack the composer fashioned for the 2017 production, as in it is far more developed thematically and also has to it a sensitive and emotive side, this for me is a perfect horror soundtrack, the composer treads a very fine line between going over the top and also not giving the images enough support when working on films in the horror genre. Wallfisch has got the formula and the mix just right, yes there are lots of dark and evil sounding passages but there are also an equal number of pieces within the work that are oozing with a rich and even lush sound. The composer creating delicate and fragile sounding tone poems within the quieter moments of the soundtrack, but then in the next instant bringing sinewy, spidery and tense sections to fruition that underline, support and greatly enhance moments of intense uneasiness. Slicing strings that grate and evoke a sensation of foreboding and spitefulness feature at times and these are I have to say brilliantly executed. The composer’s inclusion of lighter musical elements that purvey a sadness and an atmosphere of solitude are wonderfully written and totally mesmerising, being like a pool of tranquillity within a sea of turmoil that is overflowing with macabre impish sounds that become haunting, effecting and engrossing. I also love the use of choir within the score, it gives the work an epic feel and Is a grandiose and powerful element of the work. In many ways I suppose one could say that this is written in a similar way to Jerry Goldsmith’s POTERGEIST scores, it contains so many colours and textures, and has an abundance of musical twists turns and loop the loops but it is an entertaining and a rewarding listen. The work is at times relentless and driving, commanding and hectic, and above all it just works in the movie and its pretty good away from it also. This is one to watch out for, check IT, out. Are you scared yet?
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK, what a superbly unsettling title, it leaves little to the imagination realy one just knows these are going to be deliciously jumpy and filled with fearsome and unnerving elements. But like all horror movies, TV series etc, the role of the composer and his score is so important. This movie has been well hyped and much anticipated and when it was announced that composer Marco Beltrami was on board things got even more interesting.
Beltrami we all know started to get noticed via his operatic and dramatic sounding soundtracks for The SCREAM franchise, and also for wonderfully powerful scores for fairly low budget affairs such as THE FACULTY and THE MINUS MAN, the composer has graduated to being an A list Maestro and has worked on a number of highly successful motion pictures such as HELLBOY,TERMINATOR 3,UNDERWORLD EVOLUTION and the re-boot of THE OMEN. But he is more than a composer of music for horror films as his glowing CV displays, working on over a hundred assignments all varying genres. SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK is a collaboration between Beltrami and another gifted but not that well known composer Anna Drubich who has worked on over 40 assignments including TV series and motion pictures.
Born in Moscow where she began to play piano aged eight, She, has scored movies such as ANNA KARENINA (2009), BOLSHOY (2017) and ODESSA (2019). With two such talented composers working on SCARY STORIES the music cannot fail to be appealing and commanding, it is an interesting score as in although it is atonal in many areas it also holds within it an attraction and an alluring thematic musical identity. All the horror trademarks are present, crashing and tumbling effects that are supported by strings and growling brass, eerie sounding half heard sounds that entice and then jump out on you as if from nowhere, and there is an underlying dark and shadowy presence that is even lurking within the more lilting and relaxed cues, it is if it is trying to tell the audience and the listener that all is not as relaxed as it looks on screen or sounds on the films soundtrack. The score makes effective use of racing and urgent sounding percussive elements that themselves are pushed and driven along via strange and unusual orchestrations and instrumentation, which to be honest makes this even more interesting and compelling. There is another sound or style present that seems to run under the main score, it is a virulent and fearsome component but works well as a kind of sub theme or a variant of the score, fusing and at times sounding as if it is fighting with the main themes to create an atmosphere that is filled with dread and also one that seeps through and unleashes a chaotic but deadly slice of foreboding which spreads and eventually overflows.
The use of female voice within the score is highly effective, it conjures up an otherworldly mood which is beautiful and effecting and contains an emotive quality, but at times becomes somewhat harrowing and creates a nervous or unsettling atmosphere. I found the entire work entertaining and brimming with a vibrant and brooding musical persona that we so readily associate with horror scores and with the music of Beltrami when scoring movies within the horror genre. Check it out, but not alone or in the dark.