Back in 1996, Wes Craven's film Scream basically revitalized the horror genre. Many people stated it was a „fresh“ take on a genre which had unfortunately stagnated in terms of quality and originality. The film itself became a big success and to this day, it remains one of my favorite horror films. Over the years, Scream has spawned three sequels, which were not quite on par with the first part. Yet, the sequels are very entertaining and they do have quality. Due to the success and momentum of Wes Craven's movie, further films of this kind were produced. Prominent examples are Urban Legend and I Know What You Did Last Summer. Scream not only gave a boost to the horror genre, it also started the career of Marco Beltrami, who has become one of today's best- known film composers. The director sought a new musical talent and Mr. Beltrami delivered an enormously effective score. Beltrami's music for the franchise is well-balanced. He managed to write energetic and frightening cues for the horror part as well as soft character-driven melodies and cues that simply sound very cool and innovative.
It was only a matter of time until the successful franchise would be turned into a TV series. Two seasons have been aired so far and both received mixed reactions. As far as the music is concerned, three albums have been released. The first two albums exclusively featured songs, whereas the current release focuses on Jeremy Zuckerman's score. “The Rules” starts off the album with a fast, intrusive and ear-piercing violin sound. It is indeed quite effective, yet not too pleasant to listen to. Fortunately, the cello kicks in and we get to hear one of the principal themes. The cello basically plays a rather big role on this score. The quiet, reflective and character-driven moments were either underscored with the cello or the piano. Occasionally, Mr. Zuckerman added violins to further enhance the drama and suspense.
The music seems to be rather well-balanced. Yet, at first I expected largely horror-underscoring. However, to my surprise, there are many soft and emotional pieces on the album. Yet, the mood changes often. “The Star Of The Show” does sound eerie at the beginning. However, the composer once again uses the cello. The way he uses the instrument one might say it even sounds noirish to an extent. The cello really adds authenticity to the music and the emotional component of the story. The track isn't entirely good though. It then turns into generic and rather uninteresting and cheap sounding horror music. “It Cuts Deep” starts off with some nice synth chords. It is a very short cue, yet a secondary piano motif is introduced here. Zuckerman's music is not necessarily reminiscent of Marco Beltrami's scores, yet “It Has To Hurt” has a certain Beltrami-esque feeling to it. The ending of the cue is pretty harsh and rather forgettable though. Luckily there are not too many pieces which are either completely boring or simply obnoxious. The music is especially interesting when Zuckerman focuses on the characters. Pieces like “Brandon James”, “Emma Duval”, “Noah and Zoe” and “Brooke - The Truth” are absolutely showing promise.
Of course there are also the “obligatory” musical moments that scare you and catch you totally off guard. Yet, as a whole, this is a satisfying effort by Jeremy Zuckerman. The quiet, soft and melodic parts are clearly the moments that I enjoyed the most. The character-oriented pieces are the most appealing ones to me. Some parts are forgettable and simply not that innovative, yet superficially effective. When compared to the films directed by Wes Craven which were all scored by Marco Beltrami, the series and the score may come out on the short end. Yet, fans of the franchise may want to check out this rather solid scoring effort by Jeremy Zuckerman.
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