Musical Score By: Lorne Balfe

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In Blackwood, college professor Ben Marshall (Ed Stoppard) relocates to the countryside with his wife (Sophia Myles) and son (Isaac Andrews), hoping for a fresh start after recovering from an emotional breakdown.  While in his new home, Ben begins to feel something isn’t quite right.  Plagued with visions, Ben becomes obsessed with uncovering the truth behind a local mystery that appears to be placing his family’s lives in danger.

                The musical score of Blackwood was created by Scottish music producer and composer Lorne Balfe.  A Grammy Award winner, Balfe has created musicals scores for both film and video games.  Some of his film score credits include Penguins of Madagascar, Terminator Genisys, Ironclad, The Sweeney, Not Another Happy Ending and Side By Side.  He has received an Emmy nomination for music he composed for the television mini-series Restless.  Video game scoring credits include Assassin’s Creed III and Skylanders: Giants.

                The opening track of the Blackwood Soundtrack, Harry's Story, contains a dichotomy of beauty and creepiness.  The violins offer up a sad, yet beautiful contrast to the spooky repetitive piano theme that offers up a hint of horror ala Halloween or The Exorcist.  The key strokes will send chills up your spine.  Exploring the Woods offers just that hint of “something’s wrong” with its mix of piano strokes and harmonious string melody.  Of course, it ends in true Balfe fashion with a horn blast warning of something shocking coming your way.    First Night in Blackwood starts off with an innocent piano solo, but ominous music just barely heard and growing in crescendo remind the listener that not all is right with Ben’s new home.  In later tracks like Six Chimes, that spooky repetitive piano key theme returns, along with high-low strokes on strings and a sense of urgency brought about by fast-paced string strokes.  Horns come in for dramatic effect and perhaps signify important revelations in the film.

                Had I known that Blackwood was a classic ghost story, I would have reviewed this soundtrack for my October horror month.  Lorne Balfe has created the perfect horror score, foregoing the electronic sound effects and screeching violins for something a bit more complex, but still offering a salute to classic horror composers like John Carpenter with his singularly disturbing repetitive piano theme.  The Blackwood Soundtrack is a great addition to any classic horror film score aficionado’s collection.


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