Ramin Djawadi & Brandon Campbell – Slender Man (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

3 out of 5

Label: Sony Classical

Produced by: Ramin Djawadi & Brandon Campbell (?)

Wow, this is a much better soundtrack than I would’ve expected from a cash-in-on-a-trend horror movie. It’s Ramin Djawadi, of course, so I didn’t expect it to be bad, but Djawadi has certainly developed his own sound that he can fall back on from time to time, and I wouldn’t have blamed him for doing so here. While the score lacks any strong theme or standout sensibility, it feels like it’s trying, hard, to find one, in what I would assume to be a fairly faceless (no pun intended) movie. Alongside Brandon Campbell – with whom I’m admittedly not familiar – the two drift in and out of strings and feedback and barely-there sounds that are fitting for the creepypasta, nightmarish source material that informed the movie. Some frankly brilliant touches of heartbeat beats and dreamlike tones flitter about, but lacking any strong base to latch these sounds off to, the score unfortunately just drifts from moment to moment, occasionally rearing its head up to try to establish something more solid, but fading out before quite doing so. What’s impressive, though, is how the tracks stay pretty far away from typical Hollywood horror scores of loud strings and boom, going downbeat and sullen most of the time, until they don’t, but cutting out before things start to become too recognizable. It’s an appreciable tactic, and again, one that’s surprisingly married to a flick that’s likely pretty recognizable through and through, but it’s really hard to “make” the movie with a score, unless you’re comfortable going entirely against what you’re scoring to make your own impression. And that’s not Djawadi’s and Campbell’s play, here, trying to support their movie, but also having to do some heavy lifting to prop it up as well