Dedicated to reviews and news of music for film, TV and games

Friday, November 02, 2007


Return to House on Haunted Hill
Music by Frederik Wiedmann
Varese Sarabande VSD 6855 (EU)
21 Tracks 44:01 mins

Don Davis wrote a very capable score for 1999's House on Haunted Hill. Now, eight years on, for some reason we have a sequel which, according to the Internet Movie Database, has been released straight to video. But, despite a cast of relative unknowns, compared to the original's star-studded lineup, I have read at least one glowing review of the film.
As for the music, well, like the original cast, Davis doesn't return, although material from his score is utilised in the music, which is this time composed by an unfamiliar name to me, Frederik Wiedmann, recipient of the 2004 BMI Film Scoring Scholarship at Berklee College of Music and whose previous credits saw him working on electronics and orchestration for 2006's Stay Alive and this year's Primeval and The Reaping. I guess this is his first break into film scoring and it's a thankless one, really, as this kind of film is invariably scored in the same cliched way.
Wiedmann's score is a mix of orchestra (the Belgrade Film Orchestra) and electronics and pushes all the right buttons, but is unremarkable as a result. There is much mystery and suspense, and building threat, which is usually released in the form of some exciting bursts of action, mixed with powerful, dissonant moments, sometimes utilising manipulated voices.
It's a solid, workmanlike job and I'm sure is just what the film asks for, but it's a pity that the best moments often involve the Davis-composed material. Maybe next time, and I hope there will be another scoring opportunity soon, Wiedmann will be given the chance to write his own themes. Then we will really see what he's made of.


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