Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Unsettling Music for An Unsettling Movie

film blood pool it follows

Over the past couple of years, horror films in general were lacking. Few were being produced by major production companies, and the rest were sent straight to video-on-demand platforms without any information given to the public. Those that were created by major production companies lacked the one element that induces the unease and terror of horror films, sound. Then, from the Cannes Film Festival, came It Follows. The director, David Robert Mitchell, sat down with Rich Vreeland, the composer, and the two plotted a schedule to create the soundtrack for his film before the limited release. After being accepted into Cannes, the two had to reorganize their six-month schedule into three weeks. These three weeks spent by Vreeland, also known as Disasterpeace, and Mitchell created one of the most unsettling horror scores in recent history.

It Follows is an homage to great horror films of the 1980s. It brings back the essence of true horror by making sure the audience doesn’t know what’s hiding around the corner, or in Jay’s case behind her. The one way this film creates this unsettling environment is through its soundtrack. Disasterpeace’s composition of electronic sounds creates a fast-paced tension that lingers during every scene. Not all the pieces in this film are used for terror, some are more light and friendly than one would imagine being in a horror film. It’s a blend of darkness and light that swings the mood along a spectrum of emotions. The soundtrack of It Follows uses the ideology of ethos, pathos, and logos to create awe and terror inspiring moments.

filmedit horroredit mine s it follows maika monroeThe first piece I want to discuss is “Jay”. Appropriately named after the main character of the film, we are introduced to our final girl by a light and friendly tone. The emotion, or pathos, created is supposed to show the audience that Jay is a humanizing element to the film. The song plays through during certain scenes where she’s discussing life with her younger sister and during romantic scenes. It’s a very smart and logic decision to place the song at these moments, due to its light and easy feel. Weirdly, the song plays briefly before Jay is cursed with the sexually transmitted demon. It’s strange to see such a friendly and easy tone being played before Jay is chloroformed and shown the actual demon. The ethos of this musical choice must’ve been a signal to the audience to show them that this is where the pure, beautiful woman is corrupted, naturally, and supernaturally. I do believe that the choice to place the song at this spot is a great indicator of things to come. It’s a good way to end the calm before the storm.

film horror horroredit it follows maika monroeThe storm which I refer to is the piece “Old Maid”. This piece is used in one of my favorite scenes in any film. The way it slowly increases its tone, drops to silence, then picks up with arpeggio synth notes and the continues the rise in tone is masterfully designed. The scene I’m talking about is the scene where Jay soon realizes the demon or “It” is nothing to be messed with (shout out to the Wu-Tang Clan. The song is perfectly timed with the scene it accompanies. The noise drops out right as we see Yara in the door frame, and then picks up in volume as the tall man creeps up from the shadows behind her. It’s the most logical place for the song to be incorporated because of it’s deep, dark, and loud feel to it. “Old Maid” is a very noisy piece as well. I think that the use of this was to make the safeness of the room a dangerous place to hide. The claustrophobic space mixed with the loudness of “Old Maid” makes this scene one of the most terrifying moments of the film.

I really enjoyed this soundtrack. I think it makes It Follows a movie to remember. The way the electronic style of music adds to the peculiar setting of the film strangely, but perfectly, works. Certain songs remind me of the theme song to John Carpenter’s Halloween. If horror is an interest, I highly suggest watching It Follows, but with a friend. I give the soundtrack 5 out of 5 nachos.

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