Film scores

Soundtrack review: We are still here (Wojciech Golczewski – 2015)

we-are-still-here-soundtrack

Horror scores have been very present in the past year and this has been beneficiary for us listeners. Competition creates value and these scores seem to be getting better. I am always on the lookout for something so scary that it leaves a mark (I’m looking at you, Joseph Bishara) and “We are still here” is another chance to find it. Composer Wojciech Golczewski wrote the score for this story about a haunted house which wakes up every 30 years to demand a sacrifice. I have a soft spot for Polish composers and I jump at any chance to discover a new one.

The score opens with a growl. The theme for “The house” slowly builds up from that background sneer towards an uncomfortable sound. I keep using this word because there’s very little music in this opening theme. The composer used it just to build his atmosphere, his own musical haunted house. He continues to build over the next couple of cues and I keep waiting for the construction to end and the story to begin. There are moments when something seems to be coming out but it drowns right back in the background noise that makes up the first half of “We are still here”. I could see these sounds working for a computer game because I need to be doing something else besides listening to it.

“Bobby” is the first moment that shows heart. There’s a moody piano theme that emerges from the darkness and reminds me of Nine Inch Nails songs of old. I can connect with this cue and I know I will listen to it again. The score is slowly starting to make sense. Once I associated it with Trent Reznor’s ghost songs I hear Golczewski’s music with different ears. “Cellar” becomes exciting and another instant replay.

What this score lacks though are the scares. The composer does a solid job of setting up the atmosphere and raising the four walls that will trap the listener. Except that once the listener is trapped nothing more happens. I don’t sense the danger and I am not scared of what lurks in the shadows. I enjoy the ambient sounds of a cue like “Dagmar’s story” and it actually makes me feel good instead of worried.

Fans of industrial electronic music will embrace this score. It can be heard without any connection with the movie because it will work like this. Trying to think of it in terms of the on screen images it completes doesn’t help my view of the score because its pace and rhythm sometimes seems to be spinning in circles. I can look at this score as it if was a contraption doing a perpetual and dark motion. It never leaves its confines and it could never hurt me. I enjoy looking at it and I am drawn to it but more as an object of interest rather than something that can touch me.

Still when the score with over I am left with three excellent, intense and dark industrial piano themes and I can’t complain.

Cue rating: 78 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 10 / 32

Album excellence: 31%

Highlights:

Bobby

Cellar

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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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