Film scores

Soundtrack review: The X-Files – I want to believe (Mark Snow – 2008)

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The second “X-Files” movie was released 10 years after the first one, in 1998, and was the last time we heard from our favorite agents until now, in 2016 when the show was resurrected. I remember the chills I felt during this movie: if the first one dealt with mythology, this one felt just like one of the creepiest monster of the week episodes of the show, hopeless, dark, intense. That was the moment I felt that more X-Files could work and that the chemistry and appeal hadn’t disappeared. The plot sees Mulder and Scully are called back to duty by the FBI when a former priest claims to be receiving psychic visions pertaining to a kidnapped agent. Mark Snow of course returned for the score.

Just as in the case of the first movie score it’s clear from the opening cue that Mark Snow treats the movies differently than he did the week to week show. The movie is two hours long and the music needs to be more focused and appealing even for people who aren’t fans of the usual sound. That works for the action parts. The emotional moments are the bridge that connects the two sides of “The X-Files” music. “No cures / Looking for Fox” is the first such moment from “I want to believe” and I remember the movie scene with the remote cabin where our hero was spending his time.

The music of this universe has always been to me about reflection. If I were to build my own fortress of solitude a lot of it would be made of X-Files cues. I like the thriller tracks but my heart skips a beat when a cue like “The trip to DC” comes along. This cue sounds as if it was written in collaboration with James Newton Howard for a M. Night Shyamalan movie.

I like how chilling the music feels. The movie takes place in remote winter locations and somehow Mark Snow infused this in his music. The quiet moments seem frozen while the action parts seem to have the echo of the howling wind inside them. The movie is all darkness and ice and the music mirrors that with the occasional moments when it warms up as if two people touched hands and exchanged body heat.

If you are not necessarily an “X-Files” fan you will probably enjoy this anyway as a suspenseful horror score. The atmosphere and thrills are there and there are also some surprises that will break your heart. “The surgery” is one of the most beautiful and goose bump inducing cue from the entire franchise. The violin is just amazing and for this one alone the score is worth the listen.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 57

Album excellence: 50%

Highlights:

No Cures / Looking For Fox

The Trip To DC

Father Joe

Ybara The Strange / Waterboard

March and Dig / Girl In The Box

The Surgery

Good Luck

Foot Chase

Box Them

Home Again

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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