- Composed by Marco Beltrami
- Silva Screen / 2012 / 55:28
Based on Susan Hill’s popular novel (also the subject of a popular stage adaptation), The Woman in Black sees Daniel Radcliffe get his most notable non-Potter role to date, playing a lawyer staying in a house in which strange things start happening. Marco Beltrami and Christopher Young seem to alternate on films like this, and it was Beltrami’s turn this time. Having scored as many horror films as he has, it would be asking a lot to expect him to keep on coming up with something fresh and different, and indeed for The Woman in Black he pulls out a lot of familiar tricks. However, the reason he does all these films is that he’s good at them – hence those familiar tricks are ones worth hearing. This is not one of his more grandiose entries in the genre, relying generally on subtler gestures, so it is more likely to reward the more patient listener.
Beltrami opens the score with a classic piece of horror writing, playing a sweet lullaby over the top of a bed of dissonant strings. It’s a tried-and-tested technique, and done very effectively here. The score’s main theme is introduced in the second track – relatively simple, but it serves as a binding force and provides for some of the most satisfying melodic moments. There are hints of Beltrami’s one-time teacher, Jerry Goldsmith, at times – in particular Poltergeist, and in particular during the score’s standout cue, “Into the Fire”, in which Beltrami releases all the tension that’s been building up through the album for a piece of genuine scale. There’s a lot of good stuff here, but where the album falters is that there are a few moments of fairly cheap thrills, with orchestral (and occasionally electronic) stingers that don’t work particularly well on album. With those 15 minutes or so chopped out this could have been a real corker of an album – as it is, it’s still an impressive one, definitely recommended to fans of the composer and of horror movie music. *** 1/2