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Soundtrack review: Torn (Garry Schyman – 2018)

Game scores

Soundtrack review: Torn (Garry Schyman – 2018)

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“TORN” is a dark science-fiction mystery. Deep in a forgotten forest, video blogger Katherine Patterson discovers an abandoned mansion, filled with strange machines and disturbing experiments. This is the home of Dr. Lawrence Talbot, who was reported missing more than 64 years ago. Patterson realizes this could be worth millions, the story of her career. But when she meets Dr. Talbot in person — alive, trapped in a strange new dimension, and missing his body — Patterson realizes she was wrong. This is the story of a lifetime. It’s a game I surely want to play. Garry Schyman wrote the score.

Well a game like this needs a score to match; forgotten forests, experiments, the music needs to be as immersive as they come. The title sequence carves the path and lets me know I am in for a terrifying journey. “The mansion” is another misty, suspenseful piece that is too complex and layered to just stay in the background; the music gets my attention and does enough on its own to fill the experience without me actually playing the game. I like the title of “Bridge of sighs”, the cue where I am starting to get sucked into the atmosphere of the game, with subtle sound effects creating the sensation of movement and life around me. “The observatory” is a beautiful, melodic cue that opens up a magical world for me and the more I listened to it, the more I want to play the game. This is my kind of fairy tale music, with chimes and bells. “The valet” deepens the period piece feel of the score, with an elegant string section passage and the flute that evokes past times.

I have played a lot of computer games, the exploratory kind and I know what kind of atmosphere works for me. Garry Schyman’s composition clicks all the boxes; I listen to “Leaves” and I wonder if it’s a lost cue from John William’s “Harry Potter” scores, it’s such a beautiful orchestral piece, elegant and poignant, the kind I would have wanted to be in the recording studio for. The flute, the violin, the movement, the story it tells, it will definitely be on my list of best cues of 2018 and it makes me forget that this is actually a horror story.

The more I listen to this score the more it reminds me of my favourite kind of dark fantasy music, the one that Fernando Velazquez writes, which is in the same time scary and melodic / romantic. There are choirs that come out of nowhere, there are various instruments that just pop up and change the soundscape and listening to the “Torn” score on its own is an exploratory experience in itself.

Game or not, “Torn” gave me everything I needed from a score: emotion, beautiful orchestral pieces, drama, melancholy, scares and a trip into a fairy tale land. Do not miss this one as Garry Schyman wrote a majestic story of his own. I am actually afraid the gameplay might not live up to the expectations set by this amazing score.

Cue rating: 88 / 100

Highlights:
The Observatory
The Valet
Leaves
Rena
Confrontation
Long-Ago Memories
Discovery Of Distant Past

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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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