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The Invisible Man
  • Composed by Benjamin Wallfisch
  • Backlot / 50m

Elisabeth Moss stars in the contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man, playing a woman whose abusive husband apparently dies – but then she becomes convinced he is stalking her and (spoiler alert) may have become invisible. It did good business before becoming one of those movies whose time on the big screen was cut short by Covid-19. Composer Benjamin Wallfisch has become a bit of a go-to guy for big studio horror movies and has crafted a tremendously effective score for this one, very much making you feel the invisible menace through the music. A word of warning, though – as effectively as the composer may have met his aims for the film, as a listening experience on an album it’s a robust challenge to get through (and if you’re looking for some release from all the horrors surrounding all of us in the world at the time I’m writing these words, you’re not going to find it here).

There are three distinct ideas from which Wallfisch constructs the score. The most up-front is the music for Adrian Griffin, the invisible man, which is built from sort of EDM-style constructs of highly abrasive synth blasts – cues like “The Escape”, “Attack” and “He’s Behind You” are an onslaught of psychological terror, highly unsettling and (very much by design) deeply unpleasant. To express Moss’s character’s determination the composer tends to use either the very domestic setting of a piano solo or sometimes a solo cello – “He’s Gone” offers the early hope, “Denoument” at the end. (These moments of relative calm are rare!) Finally there is the more unsettling but not overtly terrifying side of the score, which Wallfisch himself has said drew inspiration from Psycho (in common with that, the orchestra is strings-only). It all comes together into a score which on the one hand is a seriously impressive execution of a vision, and on the other is one I never want to hear again – so all in all, mission accomplished I would imagine.

Rating: ** | |

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