Film scores

Soundtrack review: Everly (Bear McCreary – 2015)

When I saw the trailer for “Everly” I was sure that Selma Hayek was back in a Robert Rodriguez or Quentin Tarantino movie. The gore and excessive violence was there so vividly on display that it could only be one of those two directing. As it turns out, it’s not. the movie is by Joe Lynch. Anyway I will keep this movie as reference for when I need to watch an extremely violent and bloody story. I don’t know if Selma Hayek makes it out of the building she’s trapped in by Yakuza but I want to see where the music guides me.

A crazy movie needed a crazy composer and Bear McCreary was the proper choice. He had worked with the director before and he had all the means necessary to put this story in notes. I don’t think a traditional composer could have understood the director’s vision. Bear starts with “A gift from Taiko” which I guess is no coincidence give that the taiko drums feature heavily on this cue and on the entire score.

“Allies” shows the first emotions of the score. After the drums stop a moody piano begins playing alongside some very low strings. The music keeps it’s cold metallic feel but displays something warm underneath it. I also hear Japanese woodwind instruments which are there to remind us where the villains come from. The pulse of the score rises after this track and “Fighting to survive” is a very interesting composition; its rhythm follows the heartbeat of the main heroine and I hear the clarity of fear and I can feel that heart beating in my throat. This is a very interesting cue because it is not as loud as you might think. It sounds like a first person view of the action when the noises inside you sound almost as loud as the ones outside.

“Everly” looks like the movie where the action doesn’t relent for one second and where there’s no time to think or rest. The score shows me this and I can hear when the main character hides or when she charges or when she moves as slowly as she can to avoid being seen. Bear McCreary’s music is insanely rhythmic and almost hypnotic. It is also excessively electronic and somehow I find myself nodding my head because this is how I would imagine the score of a movie like this.

Things get really suffocating in “The sadist”. I can feel an almost physical discomfort when i listen to this track and this is exactly what Bear McCreary wanted us to feel. I feel trapped inside the music as if it was a cold basement where the lights flicker every second and I am chased by a dozen assassins while countless insects are crawling on my skin. Every time I think I found a way out that door turns out to be just another lair for evil.

There is one single island of emotion in”Everly” and it’s brilliant: “Resolution” feels like a heartfelt epilogue. The piano keys and the sombre strings come hand in hand in a simple but very poignant piece. I wish I would have heard more cues like this one every now and then, as a sanctuary from all the madness.

There’s not a lot of variation in this score but that raw percussion and the uncomfortable pulsating sound will stick with me. This is what I will remember from “Everly”, this is what makes it unique.

Cue rating: 82 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 8 / 43

Album excellence: 19%

Highlights:

The sadist

Resolutio

About the author

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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