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Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark by Marco Beltrami & Buck Sanders (Review)

posted Sep 17, 2011, 10:10 AM by Kaya Savas

The Oscar nominated duo behind scores like The Hurt Locker and Max Payne continue their collaboration with this horror fairytale score. Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark is not your typical horror score in that Beltrami and Sanders base the entire score off a lullaby which opens the album. I wonder if this was their choice or if it was producer Guillermo Del Toro's. As we all know the score to Pan's Labyrinth is a fantasy score with a lullaby as its grounding foundation. Whosever decision it was I think it works immensely.

Lullaby scores always add a sense of wonder and fantasy to a film. Look at Danny Elfman's scores to Edward Scissorhands or A Nightmare Before Christmas. These fairytales have lullaby scores that add a whole different unique dimension to the stories; a spine tingling wonderment. For Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark we obviously have a much darker score, but it never becomes a horror score. At least I don't think so. Beltrami and Sanders effectively create tension and suspense with strings and a brass section. Nothing about the score feels like its been done before and you can actually feel Beltrami's style through it. The entire soundscape is quite bold for a horror score to be honest. It's a well executed orchestral nightmare. The music doesn't try to be "scary" but instead is accenting the story and the atmosphere. Because it's not calling attention to itself as a horror score it becomes a fantastic experience.

Marco Beltrami has really made a name for himself in the past 5 years or so. His style has become refined and his scores have such a strong voice. Buck Sanders' collaboration adds more to this dynamic duo that has shown some serious talent in their handful of scores. Beltrami's next score is the remake/prequel to The Thing and it will be without Buck Sanders. I personally want to see how he handles one of my favorite horror scores of all time by the great Ennio Morricone.