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Bone-chilling horror score is as effective as they come - with all that entails in terms of the album's listenability
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album running time
Album cover copyright (c) 2007 The Weinstein Company; review copyright (c) 2008 James Southall
It's fair to say that director Frank Darabont has found success in the past with Stephen King adaptations, with The Shawshank Redemption quickly making its way into lots of "Greatest Film" lists and The Green Mile also being of high quality. It's a surprise, therefore, that The Mist hasn't been more successful - it's relatively low-budget, and doesn't have any big stars in it, but with the pedigree of the director and popularity of the author one might have expected more than its modest grosses, particularly since it was blessed with strong reviews.
Unlike those previous King adaptations, this one is pure horror - as a mist containing deadly creatures envelops a town, a bunch of people find themselves trapped in a supermarket and gradually descend into madness. Darabont continues his collaboration with his The Majestic composer Mark Isham, though of course it's a very different score this time round - Isham's trademark Americana is obviously nowhere to be found, replaced instead by a jarring, disturbing, entirely electronic soundscape designed to do one thing, and one thing only - scare.
It does it pretty well, using crashes and bangs for the obvious terror but in between focusing on abrasive textures and samples to produce what is frankly a repellant sound. A female voice is occasionally added - voices having been used so well in classic horror scores of the past - and this addition of the human touch makes it all the more effective. The only slight trace of warm comes in an occasional bridging passage used in between the horror, but even that is warm in only the most tenuous of senses.
Isham's score is very short - barely twenty minutes - but the album also features Dead Can Dance's "The Host of Seraphim" (expanded to include some stuff by Isham very much in the style of the score) and a tracked-in piece from his exceptional score for Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle, "The Vicious Blues", which seems completely out of place but is still a fine piece of music. The Mist is a tremendously effective horror score - but listen at your peril, because it might just drive you mad. As easy as it is to admire Isham's craft in coming up with something like this (the electronic approach works brilliantly - hearing electronics used in this way, to do things which simply couldn't be accomplished by an orchestra, certainly shows why this is a perfectly viable approach to film scoring in the right circumstances), the music is such that I can't honestly see many people returning to the album with great regularity.