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Soundtrack review: Marrowbone (Fernando Velazquez – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Marrowbone (Fernando Velazquez – 2017)



“Marrowbone” is a 2017 Spanish drama horror film written and directed by Sergio G. Sánchez. It stars George MacKay, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Heaton, Mia Goth, Matthew Stagg, Kyle Soller, Nicola Harrison, and Tom Fisher. A young man and his four younger siblings, who have kept secret the death of their beloved mother in order to remain together, are plagued by a sinister presence in the sprawling manor in which they live. The score was written by Fernando Velazquez.

On my list of composers to get excited about and scores to prioritise, Fernando Velazquez has reached the top 10 probably in recent years, climbing another rung with every new score. He has become the new Danny Elfman of dark fantasy and horror films and he usually fills the 75 minutes of his scores to the brim with emotion and excitement. The other advantage of his long scores is that he can take his time building up the emotional texture of the music; I listen to “Podriamo ser felices” (A chance of happiness) and all I feel is joy and gratitude as it’s the type of fairy tale like melodic orchestral cue that brings me back to my favourite childhood stories. The music that deals with everything outside the sinister and the scary would make for a superb and meaningful orchestral score on its own. Fernando Velazquez can write powerful and lyrical drama where the gentle sound of the flute pierces and haunts together with the most dreamy like piano motifs. A theme like “Jack” is something I could enjoy for years to come and it would never lose its emotional appeal.

The transition between the dreamy emotional mood and the scary one is also natural and almost seamless; the tone just gets darker, the strings sharper and more menacing, the piano more sombre and just as natural as night comes after day the score switches to the other side. The instruments are the same, the woodwinds are present in the suspenseful and scary cues as well but everything is played differently as if the orchestra suddenly turned off the lights. The truly scary and hair raising moments and very well punctuated and thrilling; they don’t crowd the score and the composer doesn’t oversell those moments which makes “Marrowbone” a richly layered score that makes for a satisfying standalone listening experience at all levels.

Fernando Velazquez turns his every score into a complex and rewarding story and I get all the depth and intensity listening to “Marrowbone” as I do from reading a gripping novel; there’s nothing light or superficial in here and every turn of the page or switch of a cue is met with anticipation and affection from me. Be it romance, suspense or horror the music of “Marrowbone” is just the best kind of orchestral music you can find; I feel every turn of the bow on a string and every press of the piano key as if they were my skin and just give me more of this composer because nothing can go wrong.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 53 / 70

Album excellence: 75%

A chance of happiness
Mother’s death
The library / A kiss
We have to be ready
Covering the mirror
Jane Alone
Down the chimney
Up the chimney
Meet me at Skull Rock
What have you done?
Come out of there!

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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