John Ottman

Gothika [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

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John Ottman's score for the psycho-thriller Gothika sounds exactly how you'd expect it to sound: based in doomy strings and brass backed by creepy, rattling percussion, it's an often predictable but still effective collection of music. Most of the pieces, such as "Roadblock/First Contact," "I'm the Mirror/Not Alone," and "Recollections" follow a quietly eerie then loudly scary formula; even though Ottman uses these dynamic shifts a little too frequently throughout the score, they still manage to have an impact most of the time. "Final Escape" and "Revelation" work particularly well, building up to several peaks of tension and release in their relatively long running times. The tracks where Ottman doesn't try so hard to scare or impress are often the score's best, such as the pretty but brooding "Miranda's Theme" and "Remembering Rachael," both of which have a subtlety that the rest of the score could use more of. The rather clumsily named "I See Dead Kids," "Willow Creek," and "One of Us/The Shower" are creepier, but still restrained, and hint at the kind of score Gothika could have been if it weren't peppered with so many obvious jolts. Nevertheless, Ottman's score gets the job done and is entertaining enough outside of the film it supports, so some soundtrack fans may appreciate it for its own merits.

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