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DRAG ME TO HELL
Terrific horror score is pure entertainment from Young
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2009 Universal Studios; review copyright (c) 2009 James Southall.
After what appeared from the outside to not be the best working environment on Spider-Man 3 (when parts of his score were replaced), I didn't expect to see Christopher Young working for Sam Raimi again. But for the director's return to his roots - a gory film in which a young woman has three days to cure herself of an ancient curse before she is dragged to hell. Young is a past master at horror films, and after a period in which he seemed to deliberately avoid them, he is tackling them quite regularly again - much to our benefit!
His more cerebral approach to many of the ones he's scored recently has produced some very impressive results (particularly the outstanding The Exorcism of Emily Rose), but let's face it - what film score fans really wanted to hear was another Hellraiser 2, with Young just going all out to provide gigantic gothic thrills. To an extent, that's what he's done in Drag Me to Hell - this is big, big music - but most impressively, he's managed to incorporate some of the elements of those more cerebral scores too.
The score begins with a piece that leaves no doubt as to what is to come - the opening cue combining massed orchestral and choral forces into a piece of horror scoring perfection. Big, bold statements combine with the weirdly beautiful main theme for a piece of vintage Christopher Young. The whole score isn't like that - it has its share of quieter moments to break things up. "Tale of a Haunted Banker" presents a really lovely lullaby-type theme.
The choir has become the most overused and misused device by film composers. But Young knows exactly when and how to use it. The vocal work in cues like "Lamia" produces a truly unsettling sound - and the piece goes on to introduce a great new theme, a driving, percussive statement of horrific intent. After a quieter middle section to the album, things hot up again near the end, first in the gloriously gory "Auto-Da-Fe"; and then everything culminates in the outstanding "Concerto to Hell", which is like an extended take on the opening cue. It's just fantastic. This is Young's most flat-out entertaining score since The Core - highly recommended.