In order to achieve an effective horror score that works on a completely different level than traditional scoring, you need to think psychologically. Certain sounds and certain notes make people uneasy and uncomfortable. And I’m not talking about jump scares. Ceiri Torjussen has effectively built a score that screws with your head without resorting to cheap tricks… for the most part.
The Canal is a supremely effective horror score that manages to blur the lines of sound design and score. It works in a methodical fashion by building extremely unsettling textures. Utilizing strings to sound like creaking floorboards and other “horror” sounds, the music does affect you on a psychological level. You will become rather uneasy and agitated. It will make you feel restless, tense and anxious. And when you combine that with the images of the film, the effect is in full-force. Many horror scores simply walk in the footsteps of the image. If a hand is slowly reaching to open a door, the music shouldn’t do an expected build, then drop off when the door opens. Only to scare you with a burst of sound. No, the music should compliment the image, it should add a new dimension that isn’t there onscreen. The Canal does this extremely well. Does Ceiri Torjussen resort to some tried and true methods? Sure, but they are welcomed methods of familiarity that feel part of the soundscape. Overall though this is a wholly original soundscape from hell that will torment you plenty.
The Canal is a great horror score. It feels like it has its own unique identity while easily getting under your skin to make you feel like something is lurking in the dark right in front of your nose. You can feel the chilled air on your neck, you can hear the whispers in your ear, and the ever so slight brush on the skin of your arm. It also carries weight and terror when it needs to without ever forgetting that it’s not mirroring the image, but complementing it. Definitely a score you’ll want to check out in the spooky month of October.
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