Composed By: Nathan Barr
Distributed by: Sony Classical
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the wisdom of Hollywood, someone decided to remake the 1990 science fiction horror film Flatliners. As in the original film, five young medical students attempt to learn something about near-death experiences through experimentation. Using themselves as human guinea pigs, each volunteers to go flatline and hope that their fellow classmates can resuscitate them. While in that space between life and death, each experiences some sort of horror they experienced in their past. Some begin to see hallucinations related to their afterlife visions.
The musical score of this new version of Flatliners is American multi-instrumentalist and composer Nathan Barr. Beginning his study of music in Tokyo, Japan at the age of four, Barr’s interest in music and in expanding his collection of rare and unusual instruments has led him to travel all over the world. In 1996, Barr moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in scoring, working under Hans Zimmer on films like As Good As It Gets and The Prince of Egypt. Solo projects include television series and movies like Fear, From Dusk Till Dawn 3, Kate Brasher, Cabin Fever, Club Dread, The Dukes of Hazzard, Hostel, Grindhouse, Shutter, True Blood, The Last Exorcism, The Americans and The Boy Next Door.
The new Flatliners Soundtrack alternates between edgy electronic and softer orchestral tones. The Main Title is much more edgy than the original score’s theme with a fast-paced industrial dance sound. Percussion is often used to indicate moments of resuscitation. High-pitched violin screeching is used as a horror cue, possibly heard during the afterlife sequences or during moments of hallucination. Forgiveness is quite a beautiful mixture of orchestral and synth, offering a sense of closure and bliss.
The remake of Flatliners may be a box office and reviewer’s bomb like I suspect it will prove to be. However, Nathan Barr’s music is a vast improvement over the score I heard while watching the original film. I wonder if we put Barr’s score with the visuals in the old movie…wow, wouldn’t that be something? The new Flatliners Soundtrack is well-worth the listen, even if the movie isn’t much worth the watch.