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Young demonstrates once again why he's the go-to guy for horror movies with a chilling, unsettling, complex work
A review by JAMES SOUTHALL
Music composed by
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Album cover copyright (c) 2009 DreamWorks SKG and Paramount Pictures; review copyright (c) 2009 James Southall.
Get out your pencils and paper, folks - note the time and date. A Hollywood studio has released a horror movie which is neither a remake of an old Hollywood horror movie, nor a remake of a new Japanese horror movie. Some people said the day would never come - others foretold it in the stars. Whichever camp you fell into, this is truly an auspicious moment. The shackles have been released and we can look forward to a brave new era. That's right, you read it correctly - The Uninvited is not a remake of an old Hollywood horror movie - and The Uninvited is not a remake of a new Japanese horror movie - in fact, in a display of creativity most of us thought was surely dead, it's a remake of a new Korean movie!
Sometimes as a film music fan, you hear a brief description of a film and think - if Composer X doesn't score this, there's something wrong with the world. If it's a major summer action blockbuster, then Composer X will be a talentless hack whose computer acumen more than makes up for his absolute lack of any discernible musical acumen in the eyes of his red-trousered German employer; and if it's a psychological horror film, then Composer X is Christopher Young. In the latter case, that is a very good thing - nobody but Young should be allowed anywhere near this type of film, because nobody comes close to being as good as Young at scoring them.
This score opens with a great main theme, a spooky, wordless female singing a beautiful, haunting melody; and the mind wanders off through the great catalogue of horror scores from this master of the genre, from the gothic extravagance of a score like Hellraiser 2 through the more understated (but no less impressive) chills of The Exorcism of Emily Rose. A new Christopher Young score for a horror movie is a bit like a blind date with an Eastern European nymphomaniac - you just know it's going to be great, the only question is whether you'll make it more than a couple of minutes before having to lie back and bask in the glow.
Actually, I suppose there's another question. Regarding the Eastern European nymphomaniac - will she be Czech? Hungarian? Blonde? Brunette? Just looking to draw you under her spell while she waits for her work permit to come through? (We've all been there.) More pertinently to this website, the question is - will this be one of Young's grand, balls-to-the-wall, chopped-up-limbs-and-everything horror scores, or one of the more psychological, dripping-with-blood ones? It's the latter - but the great news is that there are more than a few big moments. "Corpse Christmas" - the strings scurry along, the brass blasts away, the choir groans in a kind of bloody ectstasy - then it settles down, like it's raising its index finger and beckoning the listener to enter this nice new world - a feeling exacerbated by the warm glow of "Pairs in Love" - before bam! - "Terror on the Water" slices your head off. Brilliant, intelligent scoring.
Actually, the big moments are not the dominant factor. Young frequently draws the listener in with deceptively beautiful material and gradually twists it into something macabre - drawing you in with a rose in his left hand before plunging a knife into you with his right. It's not a novel approach, but it's a brilliant one all the same. "Cry of Love" sees meandering strings gradually overcome by the most avant garde, impressive choral writing I've heard from a Hollywood composer in a long time. It's genuinely unsettling music. This is such a fine score, such classy music; if you find yourself questioning whether you really need another Christopher Young horror score, then question no more - you do. You need this one.