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The Forest by Bear McCreary (Review)

posted Feb 1, 2016, 7:44 PM by Kaya Savas

Bear McCreary has always been one of the best composers working in television, which is why it’s refreshingly nice to see him foray into films once again. Recently he gave us a pair of horror scores with The Forest and The Boy (and 10 Cloverfield Lane coming up). Here we’re looking at The Forest, which is a horror film about a woman who ventures into Japan’s Aokigahara forest to find her sister. The forest is pretty well known, and a few clicks on Google will lead you some very unfortunate pictures as the forest is known as a place where people go to commit suicide. The film plays on that creepy real-world fact, and our main character must confront the terrible forces of the forest to save her twin sister.

The score from McCreary is more of the atmospheric horror type. There are a lot of moody strings and even some Japanese sounds to establish setting. I felt the score did a very good job of absorbing the listener even if there were not many tangible melodic elements. The score never resorts to jump scares, which is great. The terror comes from some great tapping percussion that ramps up when the terror is imminent. Bear is known for his percussion in action scoring, but here he finds a way to use it for a chilling effect. The score is definitely more focused at building suspense and thrills versus outright horror, and the atmospheric approach really helps the music in achieving success. Even though the music is meant to sort of fill the air and create a certain tone, I felt like there was a lacking of focus on the characters to really help the audience care about the journey.

The Forest is a chilling score from Bear McCreary who shows us how to build mood and atmosphere through music to keep us feeling uneasy. It’s not the most engaging horror score out there, but the fact that it gives a few great thrills without resorting to cliches makes it worth a listen.