The Crazies [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack]

Mark Isham

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The Crazies [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] Review

by Thom Jurek

While it might seem a strange fit, choosing composer Mark Isham to score the Breck Eisner-directed remake of George A. Romero's 1973 cult film The Crazies was actually a brilliant stroke of creative thinking. Isham is well-known for his understatement and economy when it comes to film music. His approach, given that he comes from both jazz and new age backgrounds, is to allow a composition to develop into something that the listener is quietly a but insistently drawn into rather than hit over the ears with. He appears to have a cinematic model here. Throughout these 15 cues, one can can the influence of John Carpenter, who is one of the greatest composers of horror film scores of the last 50 years. Isham allows the feeling of taut anticipation and the ever-growing presence of dread to permeate each of these pieces, though he does so deliberately, elegantly, and without using obvious tactics to get his cues across. In those moments leading up to what is a scare onscreen, there isn't a long dynamic buildup; things get really quiet. Even when the explosive moment occurs, there is only a brief instance where pitch, dynamic, and tension are startlingly alluded to. As a piece of music that stands on its own as a listening experience, this is one of Isham’s finer moments. While it’s creepy in places to be sure, it’s also quite haunting and beautiful throughout, despite the uneasiness it creates.

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