Let Me In Composed by Michael Giacchino
Lakeshore Records (2010)
Soundclips below from AmazonMP3
“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
Fit Me In
Review by Richard Buxton
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.