- Composed by Henry Jackman
- Sony Masterworks / 2012 / 45:48
Benjamin Walker plays Abraham Lincoln in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, in which Lincoln hunts vampires (with some success, it has to be said). The film was originally meant to be scored by everyone’s favourite scoring double act, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, but there is only so much film scoring brilliance the world can take and after they dropped out, Henry Jackman (one of Hans Zimmer’s many protégés) took the reigns. Jackman’s career has been curious so far, with him writing a series of excellent scores for animations alongside a series of very dull ones for live action films.
One might have thought this film’s subject matter would have been the ideal opportunity to end that sequence – it’s not hard to imagine some grand, gothic horror music for this – but sadly that’s not the case. There are fragments here and there which suggest what might have been (the very brief opening cue with its choirboy solo is certainly a promising start, the massed orchestral forces occasionally serve up a few bars of really nice stuff – the Morriconean string theme in “Mary Todd” is wonderful) – unfortunately that’s all they are though, fragments. There’s always some heavily manipulated electronic section just round the corner, or a Zimmer/Batman-ish droning ostinato; at some point in the early 1990s this kind of “technological music” probably sounded quite impressive, but it sounds almost laughably banal now, a nostalgic throwback to something nobody’s actually nostalgic about. The most frustrating thing of all is that it’s quite plain to hear amongst all this that there’s a really talented composer buried beneath all the soul-destroying devices he was presumably forced to employ, but he can never break out, not in this score at any rate. It’s all just so obvious, so uninspired, so boring. I never thought I’d get to the point of genuinely wishing Reznor and Ross had written a score instead of the guy that did, but the point has arrived. This is, sad to say, pretty appalling stuff. *