John Debney

Predators [Original Soundtrack]

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Director Nimród Antal's Predators is billed as a "re-boot" of the science fiction/horror franchise that began in 1987 with John McTiernan's Predator. Alan Silvestri wrote the score for that film, and Predators composer John Debney has sampled liberally from Silvestri's work for his new score. Fully 11 of the 24 cues on the soundtrack album bear asterisks indicating "contains the original theme from Predator," and that theme is a fairly typical relentless, pulse-pounding action riff, with heavy metal electric guitars leading the large orchestra. Both Debney and Silvestri are building on the musical horror language of Bernard Herrmann, of course, and Debney immediately nods to Herrmann in the first cue, "Free Fall," which finds him plunging right into melodramatic music led by the string section. Things calm down for a while, but soon pick up and then alternate between ominous, tension-filled passages and thundering music meant to accompany frantic chases. The elegiac "Leg Trap" would make excellent music for a funeral service, but there's more death yet to come, and by the middle of "Edwin and Isabelle Captured," the main chase is on. Debney augments the orchestra not only with guitars, but also with some exotic instruments (Dan Savant gets a special credit for "ethnic horns") and some industrial sounds he seems to have run through his synthesizer, including a scuttling sound made by the predators themselves. These are the modern ingredients in a score that really is very traditional in many ways; Debney dedicates it to Jerry Goldsmith, and it certainly has some of that veteran Hollywood composer's large orchestral flourishes, along with the elements of Silvestri and Herrmann. Like those 23-year-old predators now being given their fifth go-round on the screen, the music represents a familiar movie experience in new circumstances.

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