Film scores

Soundtrack review: Zombeavers (Al Kaplan and Jon Kaplan – 2015)

“Zombeavers”… This is a title I never thought I would write about. As the pun cleverly alludes, the movie is about some zombie beavers that attack a group of college kids who stay at a riverside cabin. The trailer looks as silly as the movie sounds, but I can see why it could be fun and enjoyable to watch in a certain mood. Al Kaplan and Jon Kaplan wrote the movie and they also wrote the score, which is performed by their band Legolambs. In these strange conditions I wonder if the score will take itself seriously or serve the interest of the movie.

The “Main titles” are right up my alley. The beginning is a synth heavy tune, dreamy and making me nostalgic while the rest of the track also plays in a 80s mood, this time the rock police show theme style. This is just a wonderful mix for me and great shot of nostalgia. I am a huge 80s fan and I couldn’t ask for more. Nice opening! I already feel like putting on spandex and a headband. Forget zombie beavers, I can make my own images with this music. There’s a strangely melancholic vibe in the music which doesn’t suggest a horror movie in the beginning. And every time that haunting synth motif comes along I am very happy.

The score is much more interesting and rewarding than I would have thought. The movie relies on probably some cheap thrills and word play jokes but the music is delightful for me. The darkness in it isn’t scary; instead it’s appealing like a mermaid’s song. The sound made me think of “Twin Peaks” in some moments and I couldn’t wait to hear what the next cue brought. The music of the Kaplan brothers is honest and strangely addictive.

I also like the way the music progresses. It flows naturally and the tense moments have their proper place. Nothing feels generic or rushed. I guess this is what you get when the composers are this much invested in the story and the movie. This was their entire vision and a labor of love and I can hear that in the score. The action parts are slim and exciting. Nothing is exaggerated and I am having a great time. The longest track of “Zombeavers”, “Lake Attack” is a brilliant and exciting piece of action music.

And again, even if some cue might not seem the most exciting, that synth motif returns and makes it all ok. It’s hard to explain why a few notes like those mean so much to me, but they do. They just touch some soft spot inside me which has been there since my childhood. My favorite rendition comes in “Jenn’s secret”. This is magic right here.

Even without this extra touch tough I still would have enjoyed the twists and turns of this score. Maybe it just caught me in the right mood but it is one of the nicest surprises of 2015 so far. I might never watch the movie but the score I will remember.

Cue rating: 86 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 18 / 40

Album excellence: 46%

Highlights:

Main Titles

The Dam

False Alarm / The Bathtub

Lake Attack

Intimidation Tactics

Jenn’s Secret

Buck Toothed

Betrayal

 

 

 

 

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).

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment