Film scores

Soundtrack review: It follows (Disasterpeace – 2015)

This is one of the cases when listening to a score will make me look for the movie as well. I hadn’t heard of “It follows” but I’m reading that it’s one of the most acclaimed horror films in recent years. It’s not easy to come up with a great horror movie so this one might be worth the watch. The trailer looks positively creepy. Besides I prefer minimalistic horror films like this one to the bloody over the top ones. The score was written by Rich Vreeland, a.k.a. Disasterpeace, a composer I wasn’t familiar with until now.

I get an instant shot of nostalgia when I hear “Title” because it’s a synth gem that reaches back into my memories and carries be back to the unique 80s. Ah that unmistakable moving, lively darkness and the echoes it leaves… Please please let the entire score sound like this! First step achieved because the next cue (“Jay”) keeps this raw electronic melodic sound I care so much for.

Since the movie is all about the atmosphere and the thrills it provides, the music follows its lead. I am starting to regret not listening to this score alone, in complete darkness. “Anyone” is the perfect example of a simple horror cue that works. Yes it feels as if a strange robot is following me, not an entity like the one described in the movie but the effect is the same. The composer relies on small vials of creepy where all sorts of elements mix without leaving the confines of that small storage. The music is claustrophobic and I can’t imagine the open air. I feel as if I’m inside an industrial machine that keeps malfunctioning and threatens to blow up on me every second.

Now this kind of experimental sound can become too much at some point. I need to focus and keep in mind that this was made to work for a certain particular context, while its appeal as a standalone listen depends on the listener’s mood and openness. The doses of sound worked when they were smaller and not so much for me in the 4 minutes long “Company” or the 5 minutes “Doppel”. “Greg” is also a slightly longer track I can’t connect with.

But then a cue like “Detroit” comes and there I am again, adrift and at peace, flowing in that eternal and comfortable darkness of the early synth. A cue like this one hypnotizes me and echoes in all my favorite places. Islands of magic like this one make “It follows” a score to remember. I can swear I heard Giorgio Moroder in “Lakeward” or “Doppel” and it’s enough for me.

Even if it was uneven and had some moment’s I couldn’t enjoy (I’m looking at you, “Father”), it had enough moments that took me back to my favorite playground. The fact is I believe this score. It convinces me and I’ll take it with me, and a few of its cue will enter playlist rotation.

Cue rating: 79 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 17 / 45

Album excellence: 38%

Highlights:

Title

Jay

Old Maid

Detroit

Playpen

Inquiry

Lakeward

Pool

Linger

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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