Film scores

Soundtrack review: The disappointments room (Brian Tyler – 2016)

“The Disappointments Room” is a 2016 American horror film directed D. J. Caruso, written by Wentworth Miller, and starring Kate Beckinsale and Lucas Till as a couple in a new house that contains a hidden room with a dark, haunted past. A town historian tells Dana (Beckinsale) that houses of the well to do often had a “disappointments room” where children with special needs or deformed would be isolated so as not to embarrass the family. Dana uncovers the shocking story of a judge whose daughter was kept in such a room in her house and the spirit of the deformed girl and the monstrous judge still linger. She starts to see this demonic spirit who threatens her own child but by doing so she begins to doubt her own sanity. The score was written by Brian Tyler.

Right from the start he adds a nice touch by introducing a trembling string motif that I always love to hear in a horror score; the way the opening cue is constructed reminds me of how James Newton Howard writes for M/ Night Shyamalan. It has the same string and piano buildup towards a shocking revelation, the same waves of emotions that take me over with epic melodic force. I did now expect to find a cue I like so much in this score; usually scores for such stories are either downright scary or just suspenseful.

Brian Tyler though, he brings the emotional content and I find myself caring from the story from the first minutes of the score. “The truth revealed” makes me think of a sad ending, one that comes as a relief rather than a sentence. There’s warmth in the music because this is a composer who cannot write on auto pilot. He goes all in for every score and this only benefits us listeners. The dark piano is not usually in his arsenal of musical spells but here Tyler uses it very effectively; it gets to me. This familiar and reflective melancholy is one of the sounds I care for the most.

Once the quiet opening moments are out of the way master Brian unleashes musical terror. A cue like “Legacy” goes straight to my bones and makes me want to turn on even more lights in the house. The musical violence is believable and unavoidable. The contrast between warm and terrifying makes this score work as it never lingers too much in a place and its evolution feels very natural. The demonic appearance parts are obvious with the strings and the sudden aggression while the human moments are written with candor.

I was pleasantly surprised by “The disappointments room”; it is Brian Tyler like you’ve rarely heard him with a layered and gripping composition that does much more than stay in the background. The standalone listening experience is rewarding and will please film music lovers. It’s time to meet Scary Brian Tyler and he shows that he can write horror with the best of them.

Cue rating: 87 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 31 / 54

Album excellence: 57%

Highlights:

The Disappointments Room

The Truth Revealed

The Kite

The Grounds

Legacy

Building And Bonding

Enter The Room

Erasure

So Long

Beauty

 

 

 

 

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).

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment