Film scores

Soundtrack review: Don’t breathe (Roque Banos – 2016)

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“Don’t Breathe” is a 2016 American horror film directed by Fede Alvarez and it and focuses on three friends who get trapped inside a blind man’s house after breaking in. Rocky, a young woman wanting to start a better life for her and her sister, agrees to take part in the robbery of a house owned by a wealthy blind man with her boyfriend Money and their friend Alex. But when the blind man turns out to be a more than he seems, the group must find a way to escape his home before they become his newest victims. The score was written by someone who knows how to scare people with his music, Roque Banos.

Roque Banos is a versatile composer who lately has impressed me with epic or emotional compositions. It’s time for him to dive back into the pits of horror with this one. I’m excited to hear it because the movie relied mostly on thick, palpable suspense and the music played a big part in creating the atmosphere. I love the feeling of starting to listen to a score from a composer who I know creates something meaningful and complex for each movie. Every piece of music is nuanced and appealing; I listen to “Let’s do this” and I envision the train of thought of the characters, the different emotions they go through, the doubt played by the piano and the dark determination which often sounds like a saw cutting through wood. This cue has a warm and soft core which I imagine is the girl who reluctantly agrees to take part.

The presence of the piano is one of my favorite things about this score. I cling to the piano as if it was the only safe place in this dark story. The piano parts are the only melodic and warm moments from “Don’t breathe”. Somehow the suspense that Roque Banos creates is as shrewd as the main antagonist himself: the music is quiet and it doesn’t give me the feeling of a confined space from which I can’t escape; it gives me the illusion of freedom and movement but it also increases the fear and uncertainty. The movie takes place in the dark and the music suggests this dangerous unknown to me. Just as the darkness is endless there are no breaks in the flow of the music. The score gets quite uncomfortable and sharp which means it reaches its purpose. There are sounds in it which make me think of things stinging and stabbing me.

“Trapped in the car” is the only truly loud and suffocating cue from the score. This is no longer just suspenseful; it’s aggressive and depicts a fight for your life. The music evokes a desperate battle and I am all there caring for the character.

Roque Banos is on a very hot streak for me. No matter the genre he manages to give life to scores that are very rewarding both in the context of the movie and as standalone listens. Do not miss this one.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 59

Album excellence: 49%

Highlights:

Let’s Do This One

The Safe Box

Let’s Get Out of Here

Captured

Trapped In the Car

Leaving Town

 

 

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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