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The Last House On the Left

John Murphy

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Album Review

Filmmaker Wes Craven, who directed the original 1972 version of The Last House on the Left, returns as a co-producer of the 2009 remake directed by Dennis Iliadis, a film with at least a slightly higher budget than its predecessor, which allowed Iliadis to engage composer John Murphy to write the score. Murphy contributes the sort of music that might be expected for such a thriller, mixing acoustic strings with synthesizers to create suspenseful cues that occasionally divert from building up tension to sudden climaxes as the scary parts of the movie kick in. Murphy's main theme ("Opening Titles"), with its acoustic guitar, sounds like the beginning of a power ballad by a heavy metal band from the 1980s, and he also mixes in rock-like riffs here and there in "The Boathouse" and "John V Krug." "The House" is a pretty orchestral theme that sounds out of place with the rest, while "Getting Stoned" is electronic with a rhythm reminiscent of Santana's "Jingo." Of course, the music needs to serve the action onscreen, so, for example in "In the Woods" and "After the Assault," relatively calm passages, suddenly give way after a couple of minutes to smashes of electronic percussion. The later parts of the score are the most disturbing, with Murphy creating music that alternately sounds like a swarm of electronic bees or heavy machinery being dragged across a factory floor. (All of these strategies are the same ones that Murphy has employed before, notably in his score for the horror film 28 Weeks Later, which this one strikingly resembles.) It's not a score that lives well outside the theater, but it no doubt helps keep those in the theater on the edges of their seats.

The Last House On the Left, John Murphy
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