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Soundtrack Review: Fright Night

September 8, 2011

By Erin V.

Right from the first track – that plays practically before anything really even happens on-screen – Ramin Djawadi sets the tone perfectly for the film before we blast into the second track.  Presenting the theme of Fright Night, his use of dissonance, strings, harpsichord, and organ throughout plays off of the traditional Halloween-ish feel, while keeping things in the realm of fun.

Instrumentally, it is an interesting score to hear.  Using a few main themes, these are played off of throughout, often taken on by strings at pivotal moments.  There is actually an electric violin and electric cello used on this score which gives part of the feel.  Along with this, the use of vocals – such as in track 7 – gives an appropriately eerie sound.

There are a lot of variations here.  Track 8 has an awesome rock version of the theme.  It’s like hearing a mix tape of variations.  Sometimes, in various tracks (e.g. 10) it actually sounds like an old tape machine making that squeaky winding sound during the theme.  I like the plodding distorted versions of the themes at times (11), and track 12 does a neat variation, taking the theme briefly off in a new direction.

The understated suspense in track 15 draws us in, even with not much happening.  This is an example of using score not as melody, but almost as atmospheric sounds – and yet in the last 30 seconds, we still get an inkling of the theme.  It’s very interesting.  Tracks 16 and [some of] 17 do this in part as well, and the dissonance is quite weird yet keeps you listening.  I think it is the well-developed theme that gives us enough familiarity to not alienate us in instances like this.

Finally, the kinetic, chaotic energy of track 18 ties directly with the climax of the film.  Hearing this music again, really makes me realize how connected this film was to its music.  The two go hand in hand and it was this score that really upped my enjoyment of the film.  It set the tone so right.  There is only one calm track really on this CD – the second last one (19).

In particular, the very last track’s repeated melodic patterns and transitions are great fun to listen to – a great strong finish to a fun soundtrack, strangely one of the most fun of the year for me.  You can’t help but smile when you hear the theme come up in the first track – it instantly transports me back to my theatre seat.  I can literally picture the camera flying through the storm clouds – a great theme introduction.  Hearing it again fully expanded in the last track is perfect.  

The soundtrack for Fright Night plays pretty much as a total action score, but it doesn’t feel like it bombards you, because like the film, it goes quiet for a bit before surprising you with more coming out at you.  I say this all in a good way – it’s just enough of what it is, and that’s what makes it so fun.  The whole score is pretty much based around the same theme from track 1, but it doesn’t get annoying – it’s actually done quite well.

Djawadi seems to have a knack for creating fresh yet familiar sounds.  I thought Fright Night was a perfect mix of scary and fun, and the soundtrack fits nicely right along with it.  Just note that the score soundtrack does not include any songs on it (like the cover of 99 Problems that plays over the end credits).  One other thing I noticed is that not every track is in the same order as the film, but it seems to work in terms of listening to one after the other like this.

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The Fright Night soundtrack was released by Varèse Sarabande into stores August 29th, 2011.

The score soundtrack has 20 tracks and runs for 50 minutes, 40 seconds.  The original score is composed by Ramin Djawadi.

You can read out reviews of Fright Night here.

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