Type to search

Soundtrack review: The exorcist (Tyler Bates – 2016)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The exorcist (Tyler Bates – 2016)



“The Exorcist” is an American anthology horror drama television series that debuted on Fox on September 23, 2016. The series stars Alfonso Herrera, Ben Daniels and Geena Davis, and is based on the William Peter Blatty novel of the same name. A sequel to the 1973 film of the same name, it is part of The Exorcist franchise. Angela, is plagued by increasingly frightening nightmares, her husband is slowly losing his mind, her older daughter spends her time locked in her room and her younger daughter hears strange noises from inside the walls. Two priests are brought together, as all their fates become entangled in a battle against an ancient force of evil. Tyler Bates wrote the score and Daniel Hart wrote the main theme.

“The exorcist” is another sensitive name both for movie and music fans as both the original and the score were iconic. For me it’s the movie where Mike Oldfield debuted his “Tubular bells” theme that has also became legendary. The show is getting pretty good reviews so it’s on my watch list. The album starts abruptly with “Release this woman” and it nearly knocks the headphones off my head with a frantic horror pace; it’s less then a minute long but extremely efficient. As any respectable horror score there’s the customary sweet and melodic cue that presents the idyllic life before…the bad thing happens; I have rarely heard Tyler Bates write a cue this warm and emotional so “New family” delivers. The music take its time to buildup and the atmosphere of this score is carefully constructed. “The exorcist” is not about the cheap thrills or sudden scares, is about gripping the listener in an ambient web that’s both enticing and scary, both alluring and revolting. You can have manic cues like “Gun shot” and melodic, mermaid song like cues like “Crow attack”. I like both these ends of the mood spectre.

I am surprisingly more drawn to the quieter parts of this score, to pieces like “Grace isn’t real” which even if it loses its mind at the end it’s still one of the most emotional from this score. “Marcus leaves” keeps the score in that dreamy zone and I forget all about the horror angle for a while. There is variation in the music as the broken piano in “Chaos” makes me think of “Saw”. I like it that Tyler Bates didn’t go generic horror and put a lot of thought into his music. As the score progresses I like it more and more and I think it’s his best since “Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2”. The emotional moments are believable, the scary moments are slow burning and intense and the rare frantic explosions punctuate the more violent moments. There’s the added bonus (for me) of truly beautiful ambient motifs like the opening of “Nikki suicide” written as well as anybody can and taking me back to the sweet electronic 80s. The cue develops into a powerful emotional cue with the cello motif and the melodic undertone and it ends up as my favourite piece from this score.

The score that Tyler Bates wrote for “The exorcist” has the qualities and complexity I read the TV show itself has. The music definitely made me want to watch the show even more and has also put this composer back in the plus column for me. This is one of the more layered horror scores I’ve heard lately and it built a web around me that I couldn’t escape from. It’s simply captivating music.

Cue rating: 90 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 29 / 51

Album excellence: 57%

Release This Woman
Crow Attack
Grace Isn’t Real
Marcus Leaves
Nikki Suicide
False Demons
Andy’s Last Words

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).

  • 1

You Might also Like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.