Score Reviews‎ > ‎

The Conjuring by Joseph Bishara (Review)

posted Jul 22, 2013, 8:30 PM by Kaya Savas

Ah, the good ol’ horror score. I have a constant love and hate relationship with this genre. It’s rare to find something worthy of reccomending because mostly the scores and the films they accompany go through the motions and follow the formula. Most of the time they use predictable scare tactics instead of taking the time to craft suspense and terror. The Conjuring is not one of those scores. The Conjuring falls under one of the rare horror scores that is fantastically scary and unnerving. Joseph Bishara composed his first score for director James Wan with Insidious, he will also re-team with Wan for Insidious 2.

What The Conjuring does right is that it scares the shit out of you. But how it scares the shit out of you is where you can really appreciate how effective this score is. The score is texturally masterful as it combines lots of unnerving sounds, echoes, reverbs, tones, warbling brass and pretty much the most awful sense of dread. Literally, from the beginning you are practically already shaking your head and going “NOPE”! However, let the score work itself over and have its way with you and you’re going to be in for a hellish ride, and feel the full effect of what music can do. The score plays with your expectations by not really building scare moments. So at times when the sound drops or fades out I wasn’t expecting the blaring horns to come back with wailing vocals screaming as if they are crying from a painful death, literally sending shivers up my body and making me push away from my desk. At times the score is very quiet and just simmers as if you turned the burner on the stove to its lowest setting. It may be low but the burn is still there warming something up. That play of quiet and loud with hellish textures make the score a great experience. The sense of dread is there the entire damn time so your heart is pounding for the full 42 minutes of the album. If there is anything negative about the score it's that I didn’t feel the structure of the story that strongly in it. I’m sure there is lots of use of silence in the final film which would make this score even more effective. However, the lack of characters or emotions besides pure terror make this score one purely for the terror experience, which is not bad at all. I really enjoyed this listen and any fans of horror will too.

The score works amazingly and Bishara was able to do with instruments what Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill) and Christopher Young (Sinister) were able to do with electronics. This score will terrify you, and I’m a guy who just doesn’t get scared by horror movies usually. It’s just one big amazingly unsettling experience. The score may feel structurally all over the place since it’s made up of shorter track times, but it doesn’t hurt the experience. A great entry in the modern paranormal ghost story trend we’re seeing these days.