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Pay The Ghost by Joseph LoDuca

posted Aug 28, 2015, 3:07 PM by Kaya Savas

Pay The Ghost is another installment in Nicolas Cage’s “why not” stage of his career. The story is about a father searching for his son after he goes missing on Halloween night. He uncovers a deeper conspiracy of missing children all who've gone missing on Halloween night. Presumably no one paid the ghost or whatever the twist is. Anyway, one always hopes for at least an interesting score from throwaway movies like this. Sadly, we don’t get one. LoDuca’s score is a painfully dull and overbearing attempt at horror scoring that follows every trick in the book.

Pay The Ghost’s soundscape can be described as cheap synths and shapeless music. I don’t know if the retro sound was intentional as say it was in It Follows, but here at times it sounds like I’m listening to an 80’s B horror flick. But everything imaginable is thrown in, in the hopes of it working. From children’s music boxes, Psycho strings, dissonant drones, whispers and moans. Besides those textures, there is not much more that shapes the score, which runs for 68-minutes. There’s an 8-minute track that is nothing but a wall of sound with lazily placed textures thrown in. If there is a theme, I couldn’t pick it out. But the important thing to note about all this nonsense, is that it doesn’t work. Nothing about the score is suspenseful or thrilling. The score never has the intended effect and I was very bored by it. If you want true terror through wall to wall textures and sound design, then dive into Akira Yamaoka’s Silent Hill scores and try getting to sleep after that.

Pay The Ghost is a sadly unimpressive and poorly plotted score to an equally ridiculous movie. The music is shapeless and has no voice. It tries so hard to be scary that it almost steps into the parody realm. Every horror trick in the book is implemented, and it’s never done well. There is a good amount of music here, and almost nothing happens. Please remember to pay the ghost next time.