January 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

Film Music Editor: Gary S. Dalkin
Managing Editor: Ian Lace
Music Webmaster Len Mullenger

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Fear Dot Com  
Music composed by Nicholas Pike
  Available on Varèse Sarabande Records (VSD-6388)  
Running Time: 73:01
Crotchet   Amazon UK   Amazon US

fear dot com

There is such musical potential in the horror film, the genre encapsulating both depravity and sweetness, darkness and light, allowing a composer the opportunity to examine every facet of human emotion. And this would seem to be the reason why I have always been drawn to soundtracks of this type, although sadly, all too often, both the films themselves and their music fail to deliver anything other than formulaic thrills and chills, devaluing the form. With this score to the modernistic scare-fest Fear Dot Com, Nicholas Pike’s work falls somewhere between being inventively eerie and the standard shock tactics that we have become so familiar with. On tracks like 'Jailhouse Death' for instance, he manages to imbue the music with a haunting sonority while still remaining firmly within the conventions of the genre, and while there are a large amount of droning, skittering suspense pieces that could very well derive from any number of solid horror scores, there is an unquestionably unsettling quality to the work as a whole that has to be commended. The use of voices on cues such as 'Punks on Video' and 'Turnbull’s Car Ride' adds scope and dramatic impetus, while the 1965 song ‘Badlands’ by The Plague is a mildly pleasing bit of nostalgia. However there are just as many pieces that do no more than generate atmosphere without offering anything particularly enjoyable in purely musical terms.

Ultimately this soundtrack delivers what it sets out to do and will appeal to those who enjoy their music creepy and disquieting. Others may find it difficult to warm to, but then I would suppose few will seek out something with this title unless they are anticipating a scare or two.

Mark Hockley

*** 3

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