The Diabolical

Composed by:  Ian Hultquist

Distributed by: Atlantic Screen Group

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                In The Diabolical, Ali Larter is Madison, the single mother of two children whose suburban home is terrorizing them nightly.  When paranormal experts become too afraid to deal with whatever forces are at work in the house, Madison turns to her scientist boyfriend Nikolai (Arjun Gupta), but what can a scientist do against forces that have no basis in science?

                The musical score of The Diabolical was created by American composer Ian Hultquist whose interest and passion in music began at a young age.  Beginning with the hearing of John Williams' score for Jurassic Park, Hultquist made the decision to pursue a career in music.  Studying at the Berklee College of Music, he began creating his own unique composing style, blending his love for electronic and rock music with his love for film.  But his pursuit of a film scoring career would be put on hold while he became a founding member of Passion Pit, performing around the world to sold out crowds.  In 2011, Hultquist returned to film scoring, but it wasn't until 2014 that he would create a score for Ivory Tower, a full length documentary.  Since then, he has created the musical scores of Animals and the documentary Thought Crimes.

                The music of The Diabolical is orchestral with hints of electronic sound.  According to Ian Hultquist, "I probably spent a good 3-4 weeks just creating sounds for the film, sampling various instruments and creating tons of textures.  One of the biggest noisemakers I used was a rusted-out old Ukelin I found at a flea market. Traditionally, these are really sweet-sounding, folk instruments played by bowing and strumming drone strings. However, mine was completely out of tune & the bow had lost all of its hairs, which produced this wonderfully horrible scraping sound. I really kind of abused that poor thing, but it was worth it!"  This would probably account for the ever-increasing in pitch screeches found in most tracks on The Diabolical Soundtrack.

                When not being used to screech and send chills up your spine, strings are used to produce some beautifully melancholy music, but this beautiful music is always short lived in preference of a darker, ominous sound.  Light touches on upper registry piano keys present foreshadowing of something scary to come.  Dark, low registry brass offer up an ominous undertone while heavy strikes on bass drums elicit the feeling of eminent danger.

                Quite honestly, while the music probably works perfectly with the film, I can't fathom why anyone would want to purchase The Diabolical Soundtrack.  Unless you are looking to create a thoroughly spooky atmosphere at a Halloween party or haunted house, or perhaps you are studying blending electronic sound with orchestral, I can't see any reason to waste hard earned money on this album. 


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