The Presence

Composed by: Conrad Pope

Distributed by: Screamworks Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            The Presence stars Mira Sorvino as a woman who travels to an isolated cabin only to find herself being stalked by the ghost (Shane West) who inhabits it.  The unexpected arrival of Sorvino’s boyfriend causes the ghost’s activity to intensify and Sorvino’s character finds herself teetering over the thin line of sanity.

            The musical score of The Presence was created by Conrad Pope, a classically trained American composer.  Although he has worked on a number of musical scores as an orchestrator or arranger, Pope is well known and respected in the Hollywood film industry.  He has composed musical scores for films in a variety of genre such as Ghost Ship, Temptation, The Set Up, In My Sleep and Pavilion of Women.

            The music created for The Presence somewhat surprised me at first - shame on me.  I had not read the promotional material and had thought that this was a straight forward ghost tale.  So, I was surprised when the soundtrack was less on the scary side and more on the hauntingly romantic side.  The orchestral music is soothingly beautiful for most of the soundtrack.  There are moments when a cacophony of squeaky strings and somewhat off-key pianos hint that something spooky is going on in the film. 

            I did notice that the violins played in high registries displayed a kind of whispy characteristic.  It was as if they were describing something that was vaguely felt…a presence, if you will, that doesn’t really exhibit shape or form, but is there all the same.  I haven’t seen that from any other horror film composer and I felt it was a nice touch by Conrad Pope.

            In my opinion, the composer captures the feel of the movie very well, creating a musical picture of what it must be like to have a romantically obsessed ghost haunting you.  The concept may not be new, but I felt that Conrad Pope’s musical approach to the scoring was interesting.  As a musical album, I found that the music of each track flowed into the other quite seamlessly, creating a soundtrack that works perfectly as a stand alone album. 

            The Presence Soundtrack may not be your modern horror aficionado’s dream, but I think that any fan of classically composed music will find the soundtrack to be a pleasant surprise.


For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at