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Soundtrack review: The vault (Shaun Drew – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The vault (Shaun Drew – 2017)

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Co-written by and directed by Dan Bush, The Vault stars Franco (The Disaster Artist) as Ed Maas, the assisting bank manager who gets caught up helping two estranged sisters (Taryn Manning, Francesca Eastwood) pull off the perfect heist in order to save their brother. In fact, their plan goes awry, and it’s soon revealed that there are otherworldly forces involved in the caper, as the siblings battle forces way beyond their imagination. Another James Franco movie, he is in everything these days. Shaun Drew wrote the score.

The score opens with “Wanna survive today” which dives straight into the suspenseful atmosphere of the movie; this first cue is your regular electronic thriller affair, low key and alert with the occasional changes of pace that suggests that things might even take a turn for the horror. This kind of music is familiar to me, it’s been used a lot these past few years for thrillers as I imagine directors consider it very appropriate for the genre. I am usually a fan of electronic music but it takes a while for me to warm up to this score as something seems to be missing. The pace is alright, the electronic music is well done and I can see it working very well in the context of a captivating thriller movie. The second cue “Fix it!” builds up into a solid tense piece that actually catches all my attention. As always in a score like this I expect to find a warmer, more emotional cue or at least a motif and the beginning of “We’re not going to hurt anybody” gives me that.

The strong point of this score is the atmosphere; the composer treated the story like a horror movie and the music feels like it would fit very well on the score of a virus or zombie movie, claustrophobic and with sudden bursts of energy. I find my sweet spot in “You set us up” which works both as a Twin Peaks like slow burning ambient piece and a as a great horror cue. I was really surprised to find a Black Lodge like piece such as this one on “The vault”.

As far as setting up a scary and uneasy electronic atmosphere goes, Shaun Drew’s composition works also as a standalone listen; while there were generic moments I didn’t care much for I did find some dense motifs that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. For me “The Vault” is a horror score more than a thriller score and the second half is where everything comes together. I imagine the movie moves the same way and the second half is more meaningful and captivating than the first. I will be very curious to hear this composer write for a higher profile horror movie or computer game for that matter because from “Make it stop” on I regretted listening to this score in complete darkness as it positively scared me.

Cue rating: 84 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 15 / 52

Album excellence: 28%

Highlights:
You Set Us Up
Make It Stop
Kramer?
The Whimpering
Leah’s Foreboding

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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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