January 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

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

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Ghost Ship  
Music composed by John Frizzell
  Available on Varèse Sarabande Records (VSD-6419)  
Running Time: 73:36
Crotchet   Amazon US

ghost ship

Going head to head with that other sea-faring horror outing reviewed this month, Below, John Frizzell can give himself a pat on the back for coming out the victor, despite the fact that some of his thematic work (the motif heard first on 'The Discovery' in particular) has an over familiar ring to it.  Even so, there is a fair amount of atmosphere generated along with a smattering of invention and at over twice as long as the Below soundtrack, certainly offers a good deal more value for money.

Undoubtedly the best musical device within the score is the rather touching, melodic theme first introduced on 'I Saw a Little Girl' and heard later in cues like 'Katie's Dolls' and at its most affecting on 'The Souls Ascend'.  Elsewhere there is a good deal of predictable horror/suspense work, delivering everything we have come to expect and rarely extending itself beyond the confines of conformity. When it does so however, on tracks like 'No Unexpected Guests' and 'Go to Hell', the interest level quickly rises, only to fade away as the subsequent cue reverts to more mundane territory. But there is still an overall sense of something a little more worthwhile than usual and this genre really does deserve and should demand more of composers, as it has such vast potential to produce something of true power and poignancy. Here, John Frizzell takes a few halting, unsteady steps in the right direction. Let's hope one day soon he will begin to run.

Mark Hockley


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