Film scores

Soundtrack review: Krisha (Brian McOmber – 2016)

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This score is a troubled mind being explored and exposed with the musical and sound instruments available to the composer.

“Krisha” is a 2015 American drama film written and directed by Trey Edward Shults. It is the feature-length adaption of the 2014 short film Krisha also directed by Shults. The film stars Krisha Fairchild, Robyn Fairchild and Bill Wise. When Krisha shows up at her sister’s Texas home on Thanksgiving morning, her close and extended family greet her with a mixture of warmth and wariness. Almost immediately, a palpable unease permeates the air, one which only grows in force as Krisha gets to work cooking the turkey and trying to make up for lost time by catching up with her various relatives. Past demons turn up to ruin the festivities. The score was composed by Brian McOmber.

Then opening is almost unbearably tense and uncomfortable. The one minute long “Face” makes me want to get out of there, turn off the music and open the windows. This cue makes me happy that whatever goes on is not happening to me; this means it doesn’t take more than this minute for the composer to make his point and succeed in communicating to me, his audience, the kind of mood this story sets.

A cue like “The woodpecker part 1” might throw some people off; if you are not into experimental film music you might not like this one. It’s a combination between voiceover from the movie (always a risky move for a score, but for some directors it’s important to make the music blend so closely with the story) and nature sounds. Having not seen the movie yet the cue doesn’t work very well for me because I have no connection with the story.

The musical experiments don’t end there. It’s obvious to me that the composer serves the story completely and has created a score that’s only fitted to this movie, to the feelings and turmoil in includes and to the characters that experience them. Thinking of it this way helped the music (I say music but don’t expect coherent melodies or anything) make sense to me. I imagine being inside the head of Krisha, the main character as the goes through various strange and intense states of mind. It’s the only way to make “Krisha” not feel like a difficult listen. I experience what she experience, I see what she hears as she goes outside the house or as she reacts to her relatives.

This score is a troubled mind being explored and exposed with the musical and sound instruments available to the composer. It’s not an easy task and it’s a very bold move both from director and musician but, in the end, it’s intriguing enough. It’s not something I will listen to again other than in the context of the movie though, maybe except “Ends” which gets me the fix of atmospheric music I always need.

Cue rating: 75 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 8 / 34

Album excellence: 24%

Highlights:

Face

Ends

 

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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