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Soundtrack review: Ghostbusters (Theodore Shapiro – 2016)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Ghostbusters (Theodore Shapiro – 2016)


“Ghostbusters” is an upcoming American supernatural action comedy film and reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) are a pair of unheralded authors who write a book positing that ghosts are real. A few years later, Gilbert lands a prestigious teaching position at Columbia University, but her book resurfaces and she is laughed out of academia. When ghosts invade Manhattan, Gilbert reunites with Yates, teaming up with a nuclear engineer, Jillian Holtzmann (Kate McKinnon), and a subway worker, Patty Tolan (Leslie Jones), to save the world from a mysterious evil and powerful demon known as Rowan (Neil Casey) who can exercise control over human forms. Theodore Shapiro wrote the score.

Normally my knowledge of the franchise makes me aware that this is ultimately a comedy. Normally I would sigh and expect a comedic score with a lot of monkeying around. Except this is not normal. This is a score written by Theodore Shapiro and I am not falling for the comedic trap like I did earlier in 2016 with “Zoolander no 2”; that score ended up as a brilliant action composition with almost no traces of comedy. As “Ghostbusters” plays its first few cues I get the same sensation as I forget all about the story and the cast and the laughs, faced with a regular horror score. “The Garrett attack” sets the town for the album complete with gothic chants and choirs and no trace of light. “Never invited” forces a smile but it’s only a moment.

I am enjoying this score because it’s right on more on the epic melodic side of horror. I like the explosions of sound such as “Ghost in a box” or “The fourth cataclysm”; I like the permanent ghostly voices in the background and the gaps of energy also work for me. An atmospheric insert like “Ghost girl” warms my heard and makes me long for more. “Mannequins” is downright scary poltergeist material.

I imagine Theodore Shapiro saw the movie or read the script before writing the score; the way he composed the music and the trust I have in him as a composer makes me doubt a bit the critics’ awful reaction to the movie. I imagine that Shapiro at his turn trusts that the film will take care on its own of the comedic part and provide laughs for the audience while his music will balance the reaction with the dark and scary parts.

“Ghostbusters” is an entertaining horror score which will please a large portion of film music fans as it’s not too scary or uncomfortable.

Cue rating: 86 / 100


The Garrett Attack

The Universe Shall Bend

Ghost Girl

Ghost In a Box

I Will Lead Them All

The Fourth Cataclysm

Balloon Parade

Battle of Times Square

Into The Portal



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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  1. Rufflow 11th July 2016

    Thanks for your review. I would have never checked this out since I only like big epic action scores.

    I disposed this one because it thought “cheerful funny comedy”

    It’s amazing 🙂

    1. Mihnea Manduteanu 11th July 2016

      He he, glad I could help 🙂

      1. Rufflow 12th July 2016

        Yeah, checked out Zoolander 2 too thanks to your reference. Great as well. ^^

        1. Mihnea Manduteanu 13th July 2016

          I actually liked that one even better.

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