Brian Tyler is a composer who has suddenly made his mark with three new scores released almost simultaneously on album. Also reviewed this month on Film Music on the Web is his score for the Al Pacino thriller The Recruit, while released is his music for the Sci-Fi Channel mini-series Children of Dune. Now it transpires that Tyler is replacing Jerry Goldsmith as the composer for Richard Donner's adaptation of the Michael Crichton SF blockbuster, Timeline. This is instant entry to the A list, given Donner directed Superman with its great John Williams' score, and Goldsmith won his only Oscar for Donner's The Omen.
With this in mind we turn to Darkness Falls, a reputedly not very good horror film which involves The Tooth Fairy, and from the cover art, a lighthouse. I've heard a lot of horror scores in the last couple of years, and most of them have left me cold. Here though is something a little more involving. The orchestrations are complex, rich and detailed and use of electronics is kept to a subtle minimum. There is powerful orchestral writing to be enjoyed, as in the opening set piece "Evil Rises", which has a striking propulsive motif, and a wild sensibility which suggests the film may have been in part temp tracked with Elliot Goldenthal's brilliant score for Alien3. Elsewhere brooding melody intermingles which menacing nursery rhyme chimes - "Interrogatorio" - or else hints of further temp tracking with Pino Donaggio's dreamily romantic love theme from Dressed to Kill - the title track melody - and Vangelis' pulsating Blade Runner end titles - "Overhead" and "End Titles". Among all this there is much evidence of strong craft at work, and together with the perhaps less impressive The Recruit, suggests Tyler is a man to listen to. The score may well be more than the film it was written for deserves, and if somewhat derivative is still a superior entry in a genre where formula strikes all to regularly in every department. Not exceptional, but worth considering for fans of melodic horror scores.