Music By: Bear McCreary
Distributed by: Sparks & Shadows
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
In the supernatural horror film, The Forest, Natalie Dormer is Sara Price, an American woman who comes to Japan upon learning that her twin sister has gone missing in Aokigahara Forest. The forest, located at the base of Mt. Fuji, is known as a popular destination for the suicidal. Desperate to find her sister, Sara ignores all of the warnings she has received and leaves the path, hoping to find her deeper in the woods. What she will find in those woods may lead to a revelation more shocking than her sister's fate.
The musical score of The Forest was created by much sought-after American composer Bear McCreary. Since composing the musical score for the new Syfy version of Battlestar Galactica in 2003, McCreary has been approached to create score for a number of mediums, including video games, movies and television. Some of McCreary's credits include The Walking Dead, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Rest Stop, Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, Everly, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Da Vinci's Demons, Outlander and more.
Though he has written musical score for the horror genre in the past, Bear McCreary found himself actually frightened after watching an early cut of The Forest: "I watched an early cut alone, in the middle of the night, in my backyard studio. When the film was over, I walked slowly between the trees in the dark night and found myself genuinely freaked out! The film draws heavily from Japanese folklore, in particular the tales of Yūrei, beings similar to Western legends of ghosts. I wanted my score to support this connection to Japanese culture incorporating Japanese music. To do so I contacted my friend, [instrumentalist and composer] Doctor Osamu Kitajima."
The Forest Soundtrack begins quite differently than any Bear McCreary score I have ever heard before. What is more spooky than children singing in a horror film - think Amityville Horror and Nightmare on Elmstreet. Well, McCreary uses that in this film, employing a children's choir to perform a Japanese folksong called Toryanse, modifying it and slowing it down to create a truly hair-raising song that appears in segments throughout the soundtrack. In addition, McCreary uses strange sounds like harp or guitar chords, a resonant chime struck repeatedly, something that sounds like a bazaar wheel of fortune and a sound like metal leaves rustling. Each sound offers a scary aspect to the score. The heavy percussion we are used to from Bear McCreary's composition finds its way into the score at the middle and stays there to the end, pumping up the adrenaline as the story becomes more engaged and the big reveal comes into play.
As always, Bear McCreary delivers with a powerfully haunting musical score that works perfectly as background to the visuals of The Forest and is absolutely hair-raising as a stand alone album.