ShutterA favorite of director Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, the Hostel films) and the Broken Lizard comedy troupe (Beerfest, Club Dread), composer Nathan Barr has been working steadily since his first film, the relatively unknown Hairshirt in 1998. What makes Barr’s work on Shutter most relevant, though, is that he actually started studying music in Tokyo… when he was four years old. Perhaps this information is merely anecdotal, but maybe the producers were hoping his relationship with Japan would inform his score for this Thai horror remake set in Japan.

And though the score starts out a little shaky, Barr does bring out his A game before the end. It’s not necessarily the Asian connection that hits home, though, so much as his history with other horror films - namely the 2001 Maniacs remake and a string of Eli Roth hits. Early on, in the track “Making Love,” Barr lays out the subtle, building nervousness that will preside over the rest of the album. Opening with subdued voices and then bleeding into singing (from the final track “Good to Me”) and a batlike voiceover finale, this track really showcases Barr’s talents and makes up for the slightly amateurish sounds of the first three tracks – from cheesily upbeat on “Welcome to Tokyo” to blatantly strident on “We Hit a Girl!”.

From this point on, the score maintains a steadily ominous tone, with dissonance settling in occasionally for effect, such as in the track “Fly in the Eye” where a beating drum and something like a water drain mix together with off kilter music for a chilling effect. In the penultimate track “Psych Ward,” the sudden shrieking will serve as a rude awakening for anyone listening to the album too loudly. But the credits song “Good to Me,” with Lisbeth Scott’s steady vocals, wraps up the album nicely by adding a mix of pop music mentality tothe dark undertones of Barr’s haunting score. 

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: A subdued horror film score
Stay Away if: You’re looking for more of a standard, classical score
Buy this on Itunes: “Good To Me”

To purchase the Shutter soundtrack, visit Amazon

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