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The Pact by Ronen Landa (Review)

posted Jul 31, 2012, 9:02 PM by Kaya Savas

I'm not a fan of horror movies only because it's very hard to find a quality one. If you've read my reviews in the past then you have heard me babbling on about my love for Akira Yamaoka's Silent Hill scores. Well, it's because they are brilliant masterpieces of horror scoring. I have yet to come across an example of music that to me was as profoundly unsettling as those scores until now. A horror film's biggest weapon is the music. Without it you have no atmosphere, no tension, no suspense to add to the experience. The Pact proves that there are composers out there who know how to score horror. Ronen Landa's score is an absolutely chilling experience that was as tensely taut as a razor wire. It builds an immense atmosphere that haunts and absorbs you. Never does the music resort to cliched jumps and clearly the music is not scoring the editing of the film for cheap scares, which I despise. This score is truly a haunting experience that will send chills up and down your body all the while pulling you in emotionally.

Landa eases us into this nightmare with a beautifully haunting piano theme before plunging us into darkness. Some tracks pound us with loud rhythmic thumps and strings while others have the trickling of a piano. The most important aspect of this whole thing is how organic it all feels. While Yamaoka took an electronic approach that worked, here we have a horror score that embraces organic sound and what each instrument has to offer. While electronics are used here it's in such a blending way that the music almost becomes part of the sound design, and that's the key to horror in my opinion. The music has to get to a point where it doesn't sound like music anymore. That's where true terror comes from; from the structured sounds pulsating in the space of the film accented by strings and other instruments. One track titled "Apparitions" almost hits 10-minutes and really builds itself around you. The end of the album comes to a hauntingly emotional ending with a beautiful solo violin accompanied by piano.

The Pact may be one of the greatest horror scores I've heard mainly because there is as much beauty as there is terror. For the genre it's absolutely perfect, you can't get much better than this. It is able to build an atmosphere and utilize a unique soundscape to infuse terror in you. The beautiful theme that bookends the score makes the experience come full circle and brings full emotional satisfaction to the listener. There is immense talent in Ronen Landa and I urge everyone to experience his masterful score here. This is how horror scores should be composed.
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