Film scores

Soundtrack review: Viral (Sergio Jimenez Lacima – 2013)

viral

“Viral” is a 2013 horror / thriller film about a guy who is chosen to be the lowly reality star of a promotion and viral campaign for FNAC. The deal, he has to live 24 hours in the store for one week. The catch, his only contact with the outside world will be through social media. He needs to generate enough likes and buzz in order to win his prize. Of course, strange things start to happen and up and coming Spanish composer Sergio Jimenez Lacima is our musical guide through this journey. I notice right away that this score is made of moments: it’s very fragmented at 31 cues in 46 minutes.

This is a horror score so its purpose should be simple: to scare the listener. That is hard to do when I am listening to this score in broad daylight and not alone in the room but it’s ok because for me horror scores are about more than just scares. I enjoy the overall atmosphere even if it doesn’t make me want to run and hide. It’s enough just to keep me interested and at least looking over my shoulder. “Viral” fits with what I’ve heard so far from Spanish composers thanks to the labels that are promoting them: a blend of melodic and electronic that’s slim and easy on the ears. The scary parts are done with tormented strings and I can imagine the effect in the context of the movie is the right one.

Since I am not in the proper horror mood when I review this score, I am looking for the emotional moments. The outside world tries to scare and trap Raul, the main character, but something must be going on inside as well and I want to explore that part through the music. I find beautiful inserts like “Raul, por favor, perdoname”. I also enjoy the quieter suspenseful pieces even more than the scary ones. I prefer “Un peli con Lucia” which is almost unbearably tense to “Movil de Juanjo” which tries to scare me in a less subtle way.

The piano inserts are my favorite parts; they sound like echoes of hope in a bleak world and I want to cling to them until I manage to escape. A cue like “En las calderas” feels much longer than 1 minute because of the two main motifs that duel in there, one melancholic and one frightening. As I said from the beginning “Viral” is made of moments and it’s very easy to find nuggets to like. I like none more than the short and unique explosion of furious strings in “Investigando”. Now I could do with a score that sounded like that.

“Viral” had enough enjoyable moments. I am sure that it would have had a bigger impact had I listened to it alone in the dark. A cue like “Attaque de la anciana” would have made me run for the light switch. I am sure horror aficionados will be very satisfied with this one though.

Cue rating: 80 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 11 / 46

Album excellence: 25%

Highlights:

Papa, Tenemos Que Irnos

Raul, Por Favor, Perdoname

Investigando

Mi Madre Murio Cuando Yo Era Pequenìƒo

Por Que Lo Hiciste

Estamos Siendo Atacados Por Algo

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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