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  • Composed by John Murphy
  • La-La Land LLLCD 1097 / 2009 / 74:25

28 Days Later is my favourite modern horror film; with director Danny Boyle gone and Spaniard Juan Carlos Fresnadillo on board, the sequel is a very different type of film – not as cerebral, more action-packed and straightforward – but surprisingly, satisfyingly good.  Composer John Murphy returned and carried much of his music from the first film over, but this time wasn’t writing his score around (well-chosen) songs; instead his music alone had to carry the film. It’s very effective, too – as with the first score, often going against the grain of what may be expected, combining a grungry, rock sound with some beautiful writing for orchestra, often within the same track.  Murphy also adds in a number of musical sound effects (both acoustic and not) and despite the array of different styles, he skilfully keeps everything together so the music doesn’t ever sound disjointed.

The first score’s most iconic moment is the “28 Theme”, introduced at its end; and Murphy makes good use of it here, particularly in the track “Don Abandons Alice”.  It’s a counterintuitive way of scoring a horror movie – take a trip to Hollywood and you’ll find big orchestras hammering home every possible scare – but here Murphy uses his rock music to perfection.  He uses his electronics well – some of the ambient soundscapes are a perfect accompaniment to the haunting images – so there’s another plus.  He can do grand statements too – check out the gorgeous finale, “Hymn to England”.  Everything here is high-quality and impressive; my only complaint?  It’s too long.  Some pieces are just repeated verbatim elsewhere; it would be much more impressive if it had been tightened up a bit.  Otherwise, no complaints at all. *** 1/2

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  1. Kayou Lepage (Reply) on Saturday 19 September, 2009 at 19:28

    One great track is missing on the original 28 Days Later soundtrack album. This rock oriented piece is heard at the beginning when the young hero walks alone in the deserted streets of London. I bought the album for this specific track and I can’t find it anywhere in any format! Can you help?