The Reaping/Frizzell

April 6, 2007


John Frizzell is certainly beginning to garner the reputation of being able to compose music for a wide variety of different types of films. Primeval with its African music, Gods and Generals and the civil war flavor, The Prizewinner of Defiance Ohio featuring country/bluegrass/Americana, and Beavis and Butthead Do America a comedy, are just four examples of what this somewhat overlooked composer has done in the past few years. The Reaping is a horror/biblical story starring Hillary Swank and directed by Stephen “24” Hopkins. It tells the many told story of the 10 Biblical Plagues happening, this time in a small Louisiana town. Distributed by Warner Brothers and produced by Joel “Matrix” Silver, I think that Hillary Swank’s named was used as a draw for this film and she agreed to do the role for a nice paycheck, perhaps to help bankroll her upcoming film Labyrinth in which she stars and is a producer.

Frizzell, or the producer/director team, take the somewhat standard approach for music for this kind of film. It benefits from a larger budget using an 80 piece orchestra and 60 piece choir but there is nothing really groundbreaking that will perk up your ears and take notice to some great theme or orchestration. John wrote and has added in addition to the regular score electronic material which adds to the wierdness of some of the tracks. “Incident In Chile”, as an example, starts off with what else but a Spanish guitar. It quickly segues into an eerie series of quiet piano chords with the electronics in the background at first and then taking front and center stage. “Trip To Haven”, about a minute into the track, offers a theme with piano and strings in a somewhat quieter mode for this score. “Katherine’s Story” is another one of the quieter tracks and Frizzell’s experience shows through with an excellent underscore track, one that depicts that creepy feeling without having to resort to anything more than some nice string playing. “God Intervenes” uses the theme introduced to us in “Trip To Haven” but this time with full orchestra and Gaelic singing choir. It’s a good listening track, pretty much the norm, but interesting. Many of you will enjoy “The Boy” which uses the main theme yet again, the gaelic choir, and a nice buildup to some sort of finality. The final track “The Reaping Title Sequence” is some sort of techno-metal-electronic music that some will think is really cool stuff! Not this reviewer but I can always fall back on some music I just don’t understand, it seems out of place, or over the top to name a few descriptions I can use.

Overall, the score greatly benefits from the experience John has had dealing with subject matter of this sort. It is primarily a horror score, so if this kind of music is your cup of tea you’ll be pleased with it. When new material passes my desk for evaluation one always hopes that there might very well be some new groundbreaking material included. Sorry to report that this is not the case for this soundtrack. Recommended for the fans of horror scores.


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