The Pact

Composed By: Ronen Landa

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In the horror film The Pact, Caity Lotz is Annie, a young woman struggling with her personal feelings regarding her mother’s recent death and the funeral her sister Nicole (Agnes Bruckner) is preparing at their childhood home.  Resistant about returning home to the memories of how the girls were treated by their mother, Annie finds she has no choice when her sister Nicole suddenly disappears.  To make matters worse, the cousin Annie has traveled with also goes missing.  And Annie has been having some rather unsettling dreams.  Can it be that Annie’s dreams are trying to tell her something…perhaps warning her away from her childhood home before it’s too late?

            The musical score of The Pact was created by Ronen Landa, an American composer who graduated with honors from the Music Department of Columbia University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Political Science.  He earned a Master of Arts Degree in Music Composition and Film Scoring from New York University.  Landa has contributed music to a number of television programs, the Facebook video game Hooked and a number of film festival entries.  Landa’s style is innovative and daring and has been described by the press as “an astounding auditory journey... an intricate and delightful aural treat.”

            Horror movies rely on music, as well as visuals, to scare their viewers.  The musical score of any horror movie is designed to enhance the scare factor of that film.  Lately, I have noticed that horror scores are less music and more spooky sounds and screeching strings.  The Pact follows this concept to the letter.  It starts off with a short, ominous sounding track featuring instruments played in a low registry.  Annie Barlow’s theme is classical, featuring piano and strings.  The track is beautiful, but somewhat melancholy, giving the listener the impression that there is more to the main character than meets the eye. 

There are other tracks featuring music of this variation, like Her Little Dreams and Pendants, but the rest of the album features less music and more spooky noise.  This is where Landa becomes quite innovative, using unconventional means to get the sounds he needed.  According to Landa, “I sampled everything from my washer/dryer to my radiator to a cadre of kitchen items in order to develop textural elements and percussion that appear throughout the score.”  I found Landa’s methods at experimenting with new sounds to be rather interesting.

However interesting that may be, it still doesn’t sell me on The Pact Soundtrack.  While I believe that Landa has done quite a bit towards enhancing the film’s scare factor, I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would pay good money for this soundtrack.  Featuring very little in the way of music and much in the way of sound effects, I wonder why it is that anyone would think this would be something someone, even a fan of the film, would want to listen to in album format.


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