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Soundtrack review – The river murders / Sinner (Pinar Toprak – 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review – The river murders / Sinner (Pinar Toprak – 2014)


“The river murders” is a serial killer thriller starring Ray Liotta and Christian Slater. The score is written by Turkish composer Pinar Toprak. This is my first contact with her music but it surely won’t be my last.

This score stroke a chord with me from its first moments. I cannot resist a great cello solo and Tina Guo shatters my insides with her performance. The music is moving, elegiac and deep and I am pulled inside this score without delay. “The river murders” sounds exactly how I would have imagined it for a subject like this and I like listening to it because the experience is rich and rewarding. That cello is the light guiding us through the darkness of the score and comes in on almost every track. When it does, everything else goes silent…

“The river murders” is dark. Some moments show some hope, others are just elegiac with heavenly choirs while others could very well find their place on a horror score. The sound is ominous and cold and you will feel uncomfortable in many moments. But then the cello comes and you will be addicted…

What is amazing about this score is how good it sounds considering that except the cello and the vocals from the end credits it was all done on synthesizers. Pinar Toprak weaved a dark net that surrounds you and pierces you with a long needle straight through your heart. You will feel this music deep inside you and that cello will feel like it’s a part of you.

The ending is just blissful. Tina Guo gets center stage and her duet with the voice solo is mesmerizing. You will love this score if you’re a horror fan but you will also appreciate it if you are into the cello. You will also get a strong serving of soft, almost religious sounding choirs. I enjoyed it a lot. “The river murders” was a very nice surprise.

This release from Caldera records also includes 10 minutes of Pinar Toprak’s music for the 2007 movie “Sinners”. If you thought the cello on “The river murders” was haunting, just listen to the violin on this one… I’ve heard countless violin themes on movie scores and I am still impressed but what “Sinner” has to offer.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 37

Album excellence: 46%


The Father, the Son and the Letter


Looking for Rebecca

Killing Jenny

Good vs. Evil

. End Credits, Cello by Tina Guo/Vocals by Liz Constantine



Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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