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Let Me In by Michael Giacchino

Let Me In

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Let Me In (Soundtrack) by Michael Giacchino

Let Me In
Composed by Michael Giacchino
Lakeshore Records (2010)

Rating: 4/10

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“LET ME IN often suggests that it might surprise the listener when such sporadic melodies appear, but it is largely made up of effective but uninspiring underscore.”

Fit Me In
Review by Richard Buxton

Following an Academy Award for UP and then his final duties for the long running LOST series, MICHAEL GIACCHINO makes his first foray into the horror genre in LET ME IN. GIACCHINO is fast becoming one of the Hollywood film scoring giants with an aura of reliability in his composing abilities. Therefore seeing him attached to a remake of a universally lauded Swedish horror comes as no surprise.
 
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN was released in 2008 to critical acclaim across the world. A fresh approach to the vampire genre and outstanding performances from the cast meant that the Swedish production was a sure-fire hit. Following recent trends of film remakes, Hollywood studios felt the need to reinterpret LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, and so LET ME IN was born. Telling the story of a twelve-year-old boy's friendship with a vampire, LET ME IN manages to elevate itself above the wealth of hashed out remakes in recent memory, perhaps largely due to the shot-by-shot following of the original. A fine score from Swedish composer JOHAN SÖDERQVIST accompanied the original. SÖDERQVIST’S compositions interspersed a distinctive optimism among the terror, while GIACCHINO’S interpretation of the story has taken a somewhat more formulaic path into horror territory.
 
Nothing exemplifies this stylistic choice as well as the opening track “Hammertime”. Not referring to the US rapper, “Hammertime” is an entirely atmospheric track of dissonance and suspense and doesn’t pretend otherwise. The haunting vocals work well clashing together, causing a sense of unease, while the periodic plucks of the harp punctuate the piece in a fashion strongly reminiscent of GIACCHINO’S work on LOST.
 
While GIACCHINO rarely shakes up the formula, the effectiveness of the music alongside the film cannot be argued against. In some cases the tension is palpable. “Los Alamos” is another tension-building piece made up of dissonant strings and brass. The constant droning works effectively to create a sense of dread each time the brass erupts. The incessant tension forces into existence an atmosphere similar to that heard in “Symphony #3: Passacaglia - Allegro Moderato” by PENDERECK (SHUTTER ISLAND), upon the viewer.
 
GIACCHINO introduces the first thematic piece of LET ME IN in the third track, “Sins of the Father”. The delicate theme heard in the closing moments of the track works well in its simplistic nature, maintaining a sense of fear while introducing some optimism after the relentless bombardment of suspense in the opening two tracks. This thematic approach is short lived however, as the underscore swiftly returns “Peeping Owen” is a drone and vocal-dominated piece, punctuated by frequent sections of silence. Such silence is clearly a lasting effect of the score's attachment to the film and therefore this tactic doesn’t quite translate in the stand-alone listening experience.
 
While it is always interesting to hear a talented composer’s interpretation of a less familiar genre, it can also often serve as a constant reminder that their talents are more appreciated elsewhere. GIACCHINO was given the opportunity to flaunt his ability to create palettes of great variation in LOST, but taking on LET ME IN has unfortunately resulted in a largely restrictive exercise in creating atmosphere that has little personality of its own. “Bully Thy Name”, “The Back Seat Killer” and “The Blood Flood” are all examples of GIACCHINO’S talents having being bound by the nature of LET ME IN. These three consecutive tracks all offer little more than foreboding underscore. The fact that they are consecutive again translates poorly into a pure listening experience as there is nothing to break up the monotony.
 
When GIACCHINO does decide to break out his vault of thematic and melodic ideas, LET ME IN is an enjoyable listening experience. “New Day On an Old Lake” is a stark contrast to the majority of the score in its upbeat optimism. This mood can again be heard in “Trained and Steady (Original Track)”, albeit in a more subdued manner. “End Credits” is another example of the rare thematic side to LET ME IN, the duality of an almost romantic theme with the unease of the droning bass being one of the few memorable pieces heard in the score. LET ME IN often suggests that it might surprise the listener when such sporadic melodies appear, but it is largely made up of effective but uninspiring underscore.
 
Reviewing such a score as LET ME IN is a difficult task. Never does it truly challenge the listener or grab their attention, nor does it ever pretend to do these things. As an accompaniment to a horror film, GIACCHINO has produced exactly what was needed, but very little more. Therefore it is difficult to recommend this to anyone looking for something substantially more than spooky background music.
 

Rating: 4/10

 


Track

Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 Hammertime 0:58  ***
2 Los Alamos 2:18  ***
3 Sins of the Father 2:17  ***
4 Peeping Owen 4:05  ***
5 Bully Thy Name 1:33  *
6 The Back Seat Killer 1:39  **
7 The Blood Flood 1:40  **
8 The Asphalt Jungle Gym 5:34  *
9 At Your Disposal 3:42  **
10 Neighbors of Love 3:06  ***
11 First Date Jitters 2:53  ***
12 Killer In-Stinks 2:21  **
13 Acid Test Dummy 1:05  **
14 Visitation Rights 5:09  **
15 New Day on An Old Lake 1:40  ****
16 Polling for Owen 2:35  **
17 Owen Remember Thy Swashing Blow 1:17  ***
18 Blood by Any Other Name 1:38  ***
19 Regarding Evil 3:47  *
20 Let Me Out 1:18  *
21 Virginia Territory 1:43  **
22 Invitation Only 2:11  **
23 Dread on Arrival 6:14  *
24 Parting Sorrows 2:56  ***
25 The Weakest Goes to the Pool 3:43  **
26 Trained and Steady (Film Version) 2:13  **
27 End Credits 6:03  ***
28 Trained and Steady (Original Track) 2:16  ***
  Total Running Time (approx) 78 minutes  

 

 
   

 

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