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A Dark and Scary Place
Devil’s Tree: Rooted Evil is a horror/fantasy film following Sam, a budding journalist, who investigates the dark history of the tree. Fighting her own inner demons, she uncovers the origins of what haunts the tree. ScreamWorks Records releases the official soundtrack, available for download and physical product (Quartet Records)...
Composer Chad Cannon cut his teeth as part of the orchestral team of Conrad Pope on Godzilla and the last two Hobbit films. He co-composed a Chinese score for The Cairo Declaration, won an award for his music on the documentary Paper Lanterns, and is founder of the Asia/America New Music Institute, which promotes music relationships between the USA and Japan.
The original plan was to base the score around a church organ sound, but the trick was to avoid what he calls ‘kitchyness’ – in other words, any old-school stereotypes in horror. Instead, he wanted to experiment with individual pipe sounds. He and his engineer carefully recorded the frequencies which emanated via the lowest pedals for each dissonance. The idea being to manipulate the music over a heartbeat background.
Let me take you through the tracks to get a general idea of the effect. 'The Boy' is a slow and atmospheric introduction. 'Devil’s Tree Title' is a mood piece which hints at what is to come, and then segues into a march to battle feel. 'The Mind of a Killer' is a sinister foreboding with a clockwork timing. 'The Marine' is the most incidental in structure of the lot, with low key tones, underlying cello and the occasional light pipes. 'Another Victim' has pan pipes, although not as jaunty as we normally hear with this instrument. In fact, this track is the most varied, containing creeping menace, a slight quickening of pace and a rising and lowering of volume. 'Something’s Wrong With Bob' has eerie undertones. 'Samantha Visits the Tree' is simply a low rumbling menace. 'Officer Harris' is more of the same. 'Flashback And Natalie’s Story' supplies us with a rattling/slipping sound, which sounds like a creepy washing machine! String over organ comes in late in the piece. 'The Murderer' has similar string and incidental sounds, replaced by piano, flute and a low screech. 'Paranormal Investigators' is simply rumbling. 'Possessed' has a fluttering string section and off-key piano. 'Aunt Debby’s – Closing Credits' is a disappointment; I expected more than mere noises for closing credits. 'The Spirit' is a very short sequence which reprises the off-key piano over a string rumbling.
The further through this score I got the less accomplished it seemed to become. If the soundtrack had incorporated more light and shade, more of a sense of drama, I might have scored it as high as an 8. There is good background ambience without on its own being able to instil tension, anxiety or fear. Everything is very much of the same level and the same pace. As there is no sense of danger or urgency I’m interested to see the film and gauge how well it fits.
(Review originally written by Ty Power for reviewgraveyard 2018)
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