Music Composed by: Nathaniel Levisay

Distributed by: Screamworks Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            Chris (Jonas Goslow) and Aurora (Najarra Townsend) are engaged in a rather uncomfortable visit with their father (David Coral) and their stepmother (Christine Kellogg-Darrin) in their remote Minnesota cabin when tragedy strikes.  The family’s beloved dog is mortally wounded.  Almost immediately after the dog’s death, a bloodied stranger (Danny Salmen) appears and tells the family that he has come to save them…but from what?  The tension that surrounds the family soon comes to the forefront, exposing their lack of trust for one another.  Could it be that the revelation of the true feelings of each family member may in fact cause their ultimate downfall?

            The soundtrack of the horror film Dawning was composed by Nathaniel Levisay, a composer, arranger and performer who began his career in music studying the saxophone, piano and violin.  Levisay began conducting and composing studies at the age of fifteen.  He was later mentored in composition and orchestration by Robert Elhai before moving to Los Angeles, California to work with Warner Brothers Animation on orchestral scores for Superman, Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Animaniacs and more.  His most recent works include the musical scores for Fading of the Cries and The Gatekeeper.

            I have always said that music plays a very important part in the scare factor of any horror film.  The music helps set up the scare and intensifies it.  It can make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck or make you jump out of your seat.  That being said, I expected a dark soundtrack filled with disjointed noises, reverb, screeching violins and more.  Unfortunately, that’s all I got!  There is no musical score to speak of on this album.  Sure, there are some rather spooky piano keys and plucking of strings, but the rest of the album is filled with the disjointed noises, screeching violins and blaring horns.  There are no musical themes to describe the characters or their issues prior to the murder of the beloved family pet.

            While I believe that the composition created by Nathaniel Levisay probably does well in intensifying the scare of the visuals, there was absolutely no reason to release this musical score as an album.  The Dawning Soundtrack is meant solely for background effects for the film, not as a stand alone album, making this soundtrack one extremely disappointing experience.


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