A PLAGUE TALE: INNOCENCE – Olivier Deriviere

A Plague Tale: Innocence (regular release)

A Plague Tale: Innocence is a  2019 action-adventure stealth game set in 14th century France. The player takes on the role of Amicia, a teenage daughter of a nobleman who must look after her sick brother, Hugo, as they wander their Black Death-ravaged country in search of a cure for Hugo. Most of the game involves trying to avoid hostile encounters with Inquisition soldiers who are searching for Hugo, and hordes of hungry rats. The game has received mostly positive reviews for gameplay but there is general agreement that the game looks beautiful, particularly the forest landscapes. The music for A Plague Tale: Innocence is written by Olivier Deriviere and marks a reunion between the composer and French video game publisher, Focus Home Interactive (Deriviere composed the music for Focus Home’s The Council and Vampyr). [Read more…]

WITHIN THE ROCK – Rod Gammons & Tony Fennell

A low budget made-for-TV movie from 1996, Within The Rock follows a specialized team of miners who are assembled for a mission and sent into space to land on a moon/comet/asteroid that has been discovered to be heading on a collision course towards Earth. Their job is to divert the object out of harm’s way by planting and detonating explosives. However, they accidentally set free an alien creature that begins to pick off the group one-by-one. Now the team must fight to survive AND save the world. The score for this poorly received movie is written by composers Rod Gammons and Tony Fennell (the latter briefly fronted UK band Ultravox in the early nineties).

Within The Rock is almost exclusively made up of atmospheric music that has little in the way of cohesive dramatic content. There’s not much that’s memorable save for the nods to music from other movies. [Read more…]

RÖKKUR – Einar Sv. Tryggvason

An atmospheric Icelandic thriller from 2017, Rökkur (Rift) has Gunnar approaching middle age and who has split from a relationship with the younger Einar. Sometime later Gunnar receives a worrying phone call from Einar. Concerned for Einar’s safety, Gunnar travels to his ex-partner’s isolated family cabin. As well as going back over old unresolved issues they begin to realise that someone else may be creeping about at night. The score is written by Icelandic composer Einar Sv. Tryggvason.

By all accounts Rökkur is a film that is dominated by grief and isolation. It is set against the icy and bleak – but beautiful – backdrop of dramatic Icelandic landscapes. The music certainly reflects this mood with most of the instrumentation never really sounding anything other than creepy and unsettling. [Read more…]

LOST PLATOON – Mark Mancina

Lost Platoon is a very cheap 1990 action-horror movie that has been likened to a hybrid of The Lost Boys/Near Dark and Platoon. A war journalist finds a group of soldiers who turn out to have taken part in various wars throughout the centuries – because they are vampires. The vampires discover an evil warlord foe in Nicaragua who is also a vampire and a battle ensues. Probably forgotten as a movie not long after it was released, its profile has been resurrected by a digital release of the score composed by Mark Mancina, with additional contributions from Tim James and Steve McClintock.

Lost Platoon is a muddled mess of cheesy synths and drum pads of various kinds that are seemingly thrown together without much thought to create a soundtrack that’s pretty much devoid of any emotional worth. Disarmingly, the album opens positively with a piano-led theme which features some encouraging support from synth chords and percussion (“Lost Platoon (Opening Theme)”). [Read more…]

FÖRGÄT MIG EJ – Måns Saari Jonsson

The appearance of a music box in a movie rarely bodes well, and this appears to hold true for Förgät mig ej, a Swedish drama which has what appears to be supernatural overtones. Written and directed by Måns Saari Jonsson, Förgät mig ej (Forget Me Not) focuses on Emma, a young doctor who works at a children’s hospital and who has just returned to work after a family tragedy. She befriends young Timmy (owner of the music box) who has just lost his parents in a car accident. When Timmy mysteriously vanishes in the middle of the night, Emma must search the deserted corridors of the hospital in an attempt to find him.

Förgät mig ej is a low budget independent film and, as well as writing and directing, Jonsson has also composed the music, providing a strongly thematic score that is infused with sadness and beauty. [Read more…]

SPRING – Torin Borrowdale

Spring is a short, animated film produced by Blender Animation Studio which has been produced to showcase the capabilities of Blender’s open-source computer graphics software. The movie follows a shepherd girl and her dog as they come face-to-face with some ancient spirits. Director Andreas Goralczyk (who also wrote the story) has created a world that looks gorgeous and which has a feel of folklore running through it and mystery and a sprinkling of humour added for good measure. The film is strongly supported by a score written by Torin Borrowdale (who previously scored the 2018 thriller Searching).

Borrowdale’s music adds much of the fantasy feel of Spring with wordless female vocals, Thomas Newman-esque piano, expressive fiddle and celeste. The solo fiddle is the strongest aspect of the score and gives a Celtic feel to Spring’s world. [Read more…]

MINE 9 – Mauricio Yazigi

Mine 9 is a survival thriller that follows a group of miners who work two miles under their Appalachian hometown. The miners know that conditions underground are not safe but they must risk their lives for the sake of a job or starve. Film reviews have noted director Eddie Mensore’s vivid depiction of the hardships faced by the workers as well as the dire claustrophobic conditions they must endure. A methane explosion below-ground traps the 9 men and they have limited time to make their escape as oxygen levels dwindle. The film’s soundtrack features a number of traditional and newly-composed songs that help to give the film a sense of place, but this review focuses on the original music score written by Chilean composer, Mauricio Yazigi.

[Read more…]