The Unborn

Composed By: Ramin Djawadi

Produced by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            In The Unborn, Casey Beldon (Odette Yustman) has a serious problem – she believes it may be possible that she is being haunted by her dead twin brother.  Her spiritual advisor, Rabbi Sendak, (Gary Oldman) believes that there is more to the story than that.  He feels that Casey may be experiencing torment at the hands of a dybbuk, known in Jewish folklore to be the dislocated soul of a dead person that maliciously possesses a member of the living.  Rabbi Sendak offers to exorcise the dybbuk, but things go horribly wrong.  Can Casey and Rabbi Sendak drive the dybbuk from its human host, or will the dybbuk remain bound to Casey forever, exacting revenge for perceived wrongdoings by Casey’s ancestors?

            The soundtrack of The Unborn is composed by Ramin Djawadi.  An Iranian-German composer of orchestral music for television and film, Ramin Djawadi has worked as an assistant composer on a number of films with Hans Zimmer, most notably Batman Begins and Pirates of the Caribbean.  Solo works include Blade: Trinity, Mr. Brooks, Ask the Dust, Open Season, Deception and Iron Man, for which he received tremendous accolades and numerous award nominations.  Television work includes music for Blade: The Series and Prison Break.

            Music often plays a large role in the scariness of a horror film.  The rising crescendos, the strange sounds, the off-beat tempos, the out-of-tune instruments – all of these lend an eeriness and heightened sense of spookiness to the visuals on screen.  Ramin Djawadi employs all of these different styles to create an extremely spooky soundtrack for The Unborn.  The first track contains eerie vocals and segmented sound that tips you off to the style of movie.  Rising crescendos give listeners a sense that something horrifically scary is about to happen and often signal the end of a music track.  However, there are other tracks that flow into one another seamlessly and while they don’t have that rising crescendo signal, they do tend to raise the hackles by employing disjointed sounds, seemingly out-of-tune or higher pitched strings mixed with ominous undertones. Only one track is more action genre in style than the rest.  The Doorway’s Open is fast-paced, containing a great deal of percussion, expressing to the listener that some sort of action is taking place and that whatever it is, there is a sense of urgency behind it.

            All-in-all, Ramin Djawadi did exactly what he was contracted to do – he created a soundtrack that enhanced the visuals of an already scary story and turned that story into the ultimate fear-fest for the viewer.  The musical score he created for The Unborn is enough to raise the tiny hairs on the back of your neck, but combined with the visuals of the film, theater patrons will be jumping at every loud noise and cringing at every glimpse of the dybbuk.  Kudos to Ramin Dajawadi for a job well done!


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