Film scores

Soundtrack review: Regression (Roque Banos – 2015)

Regression_1400

“Regression” is the lastest film from director Alejandro Amenabar, the guy behind “The others” and “Abre los ojos”. The film takes place in Minnesota, in the year of 1990. Detective Bruce Kenner (Ethan Hawke) investigates the case of John Gray (David Dencik) who admits to sexually abusing his 17-year-old daughter, Angela (Emma Watson), but has no recollection of it. If it stars Emma Watson, I am in. Roque Banos, one of the masters of smart and chilling horror is writing the score and I’ve heard so many good things about him without having the chance to actually dig into his music.

The angelic opening with a solo voice echoing over a dark musical background is the kind of creepy cue I get goose bumps from. There were a lot of cues featuring children’s choirs in the movies of my childhood and they always made an impression. The mood doesn’t carry on as the composer dives straight into horror from the next cue. I like the implacable “John’s regression”, quiet and complete with the metronome sound in the background which almost hypnotizes me. It’s fascinating to me how in the interest of his art the composer chose to actually sacrifice almost an entire cue and only keep that metronome there.

The music doesn’t grab me though. I don’t feel a lot while listening to this score. The music is nice for a tense thriller, but quite generic at times. It’s not horror material as I was expecting. There are moments that border on that, like “In Roy’s bedroom” but even those moments I’ve listened to before and don’t come close to the best horror scores of this year.

I guess there was problem with my expectations for “Regression”. I set my mind on an all in horror score even if maybe the story didn’t ask for it. Regardless of that though my problem with the score is that it’s too nice and generic with its dark and simple piano moods and the thin dark veil of background sound. This score had no teeth and only works as background music to…something. I hope to the on screen images, because I imagine at least the score works very well in the context of the movie.

“Regression” fades away like smoke in the dark once it’s over. This wasn’t the composition to properly introduce me to Roque Banos’ music as I’m sure I’ll find other more worthy compositions. “Regression” felt to me like nothing more than nice background music.

Cue rating: 77 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 9 / 65

Album excellence: 14%

Highlights:

Opening

Trouble sleeping

A way to confuse you

 

 

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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