Film scores

Soundtrack review: The Lazarus effect (Sarah Schachner – 2015)

lazarus

„The Lazarus effect” is a supernatural horror movie about a couple of medical researchers who develop a serum that can bring people back to life. Of course something goes horribly wrong as one of them dies and the other tries to apply the serum. Sarah Schachner wrote the score and the only thing I’ve heard from her was the “Assassin’s Creed Unity” score from last year.

The opening is ambient and electric. It’s nothing special but works as an opening because it raises some questions. The sound could go into interesting places from there. The theme for the serum, “Lazarus”, is quite appropriate because it has a pulsating electronic build up that gives me the impression of a serum being mixed in a vial before makings its way in the bloodstream of a patient.

There’s something familiar about this score. The familiarity of the sound isn’t something bad because I feel very comfortable listening to “The Lazarus effect”. Might be that I’ve heard similar scores before and enjoyed them or just that I was prepared and in the mood for a nice and simple electronic score like this one. I know that there might have been times in the past when I would have such a composition. I would have been wrong to do so.

“A second chance” also sounds familiar in a good way. It’s the first melodic peace from this score and has a very nice buildup. It makes me think of waves or the music that people use for promotional videos where you see guys surfing at sunset and the water glimmering with the reflection of the sun. But this is a horror movie so I am still waiting for the scares. “Feedback loops” brings some echoes and turns off the lights. “Casual interference” and “Parasomnia” keep the uncomfortable atmosphere going.

“Resurrection” should be the central cue of “The Lazarus effect”. It’s atmospheric and it builds up as it should but it didn’t have any “wow” factor. It’s clear to me that the composer went for the atmosphere in this score and wanted to provide an overall feeling to the audience. I am sure it works wonders in the movie. I can see these cues accompanying tense scenes in a lab or down some corridors. I can see lights flickering uncomfortably and paranoia rising.

The only trouble with a score like this is that it doesn’t provide special moments. None of the tracks stand out or make me want to go back to listen to them. But the atmosphere is there, think and uncomfortable, stabbing at your nervous system and tugging at your brain synapses. It might get frustrating for some listeners. It feels as if Sarah Schachner is watching her listeners from her lab and pushing all kinds of buttons to exert reactions. I feel like taking a break after cues like “Twelve cranial nerves” and “Medulla’s medusa” and this means the composer has achieved her goal. This cue is the beginning of the freakiest section of “The Lazarus effect”. The music sounds like a journey inside a twisted brain and the sound is very interesting. If I raise the volume of the score it might actually be too much for me to handle.

I recommend “The Lazarus effect” to fans of the genre. If you’re looking for a score that will make your skin crawl or question your sanity in some moments, this is it. Very interesting listen.

Cue rating: 77 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 6 / 44

Album excellence: 14%

Highlights:

Lazarus

Medulla’s Medusa

 

 

 

 

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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