April 3, 2012

  • Review: Woman in Black (Beltrami)

    James Watkins’ second film, The Woman in Black finds Daniel Radcliffe in a Gothic-style horrordrama as a young lawyer.  When he showsup in a small town he discovers a revengeful ghost is terrorizing the town inthis adaptation of Susan Hill’s novel. The film appeared in the states in February and hung around a few weeksdoing fairly good business though it seems to have done better overseas.  The score finds Marco Beltrami in the sort ofGothic horror milieu that at times will recall his work on Mimic.


    It has been a while since Beltrami has scored the sort offantasy-Gothic horror film that gained him fans.  In the opening “Tea for Three Plus One” thereis definitely a sense that we are further along in the composer’s work.  The little lullaby-like opening and scoringrecalls Gothic Elfman, and the title track thematic material has a Mimic-like feel (especially in “JourneyNorth”) as well which will be rounded off in the final track, “Arthur’s Theme.”  But Beltrami has also been doing a good dealof experimenting in electronic scoring and this effect is present as well inthis music with more ambient sounds and effects peaking in or adding to thedissonant textures.  The straightthematic material, and traditional orchestral sections however, are all quiteengaging with often intriguing choices for the way themes are given todifferent instrumental combinations. Those semi-melancholic ideas are still part of the score, and Beltrami’suse of shifting meters helps add to the tension of the music, perhaps more sothan all the other “effects” that may swirl around the acoustically-producedideas.  One of the big orchestralclimactic moments comes in “Into the Fire” which is another strong musicalexample of Beltrami’s gothic style in this score.      


    This is an overall strong gothic horror score that blendssome of Beltrami’s earlier sound with the addition of electronics.  It has plenty of creepy musical moments (ofwhich “The Door Opens” is quite effective) which will make it a harder overalllisten than some scores in the genre, but it still has much to recommend it forhis fans especially.