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Soundtrack review: Slender man (Ramin Djawadi & Brandon Campbell – 2018)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: Slender man (Ramin Djawadi & Brandon Campbell – 2018)

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“Slender Man” is an upcoming American supernatural horror film directed by Sylvain White and written by David Birke, based on the internet creepypasta of the same name by Eric Knudsen. The film stars Joey King, Julia Goldani Telles, Jaz Sinclair, Annalise Basso, and Javier Botet as the titular monster. A group of teenage girls attempts to investigate the mystery of the Slender Man after a friend of theirs goes missing, only to become haunted by the Slender Man themselves. The music was written by Ramin Djawadi and Brandon Campbell.

Ironically enough slender also is the right word for the kind of horror music the composers went for; It makes sense in the context of the main character that the motifs are thin, sneaky, almost smoke or mist like. There’s nothing heavy or overwhelming in the music. The score is about dense tension and about fear, not about sudden scares. Rare cues like “Slender sickness” go for that screeching horror sound. The problem is that while it may work fine in the movie, this kind of sound loses me in the standalone listening experience as there are very few things to grab or hold on to.

Ramin has always had a soft spot for thin string sounds, he uses them a lot in his “Game of thrones” scores and he went for his comfort zone here as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if a cue like “Surrender” hasn’t stemmed from some GoT recording sessions, it’s that already so familiar music of the North, slim, menacing, sad in the same time. I am happy with that, I don’t even care what score this is, any extra Thrones cue is welcomed in my book. The identity of the “Slender man” score is quite thin so any moments like this one grab my attention because of the nostalgia.

The tension of “Slender man” is like a distant siege with no real threat. The mist takes over, I can feel the menace somewhere around me but there’s no bite, no attack, no palpable and real reason to be afraid. I find enjoyable moments in the music, like the “Saw” like piano in “Library” but this is just musically related, it has nothing to do with me feeling something.

On its own there is little to enjoy in this one. Some ambient moments grabbed my attention but I drifted in and out of being involved in this standalone listening experience. What might draw some listeners to it is that unlike a lot of recent RCP scores, this one is not overly aggressive or uncomfortable to listen to.

Cue rating: 64 / 100

Highlights:
Surrender

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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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