February 28, 2008


untraceable_lks33979.gifStarring Diane Lane, Billy Burke, and Colin Hanks Untraceable tells the story of an FBI agent trying to track down a seemingly impossible computer geek who uses the internet to show his violent and painful murders. Directed by veteran N.Y.P.D. director/producer Gregory Hoblit the film as of February 2008 has already done 24 million its first two weeks. The horror/thriller story has been told on many occasions but the more interesting aspect of this film is the dark misty atmosphere of Portland and the cybercrime itself, increasing the mood of the tension and terror. Some of the grisly murders could certainly have been toned down a bit but this type of material sells so Hollywood is going to show it.

Its hard to imagine that Christopher Young has worked on nearly 40 films in the last ten years ranging from Runaway Jury, to Shipping News, to Ghost Rider. However, having written for many genre’s, horror/thriller is one that he is quite comfortable with, and the music to Untraceable is certainly full of dark tension filled material. The “Untraceable” theme, like the rest of the soundtrack is scored for piano, harp, guitar, percussion and strings. And it is a real theme, actually consisting of more than three notes! There is a small section in “Incinerated in Cement” where a lone french horn has a small solo and there is a brief passage in “Viewer Executioners” but this is a “black and white” style score that Herrmann describes for his film Psycho. It is a theme that immediately sets the mood for the anticipation of something to happen. Unlike so many other horror scores Mr. Young doesn’t have to resort to loud brass, percussion, and synthesizers to get his message of tension in the score. The key words to describe this soundtrack is sublety of the material. Yes, there are a couple of sections where when necessary the volume was turned up a bit. But this is certainly the exception to the rule. “Missing Flowers” not only repeats the main theme but introduces another theme, soft and pleasant on the piano, a romantic leitmotif used on several occasions. If there is a highlight to any upbeat positive material in this score this is it.

The entire flavor of this work is definitely minor key, no breaks in the tension and sadness, save for the occasional romantic leitmotif described above. Not one to be played if you’re down in the dumps about something. It also doesn’t make for interesting background music to be played while one is doing the chores around the house. This is also not one of those “one and done” recordings that most of us have and frankly would have been better off if we hadn’t purchased it in the first place. Seeing the film will help to put some of the music in the right place so one can have an understanding of why what was written for what part of the film. If you’re a fan of Chris Young’s music this is one to put into your collection for sure. His subtle method of achieving terror in a film is unsurpassed and puts him at the top of the list in the horror/terror category. Other collectors of horror/terror material will find this to be a change in the way score material is written for this genre. This reviewer approves and is one that will be taken off of the shelf and listened to from time to time. Chris has certainly established himself as a first class composer in the 21st. century. The score was released on Lakeshore 33978 and is available through all of the normal outlets. Recommended!


One Response to “Untraceable/Young”

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