July 2003 Film Music CD Reviews

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

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Wrong Turn  
Music composed by Elia Cmiral
  Available on Varèse Sarabande Records VSD-6474  
Running Time: 45.43
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wrong turn

There is a danger of becoming typecast in any of the artistic fields and composers are no exception to the rule. Somewhere in the back of Elia Cmiral’s mind there must be a nagging concern that producers and directors are going to begin to pigeonhole him as the ‘horror/thriller guy’. Ironically, I can think of worse places for a film music composer to be because those genres provide the widest possible canvas of dramatic emotion to explore as an artist. However, the real problem in artistic terms for this particular composer is that he is very adept at producing extremely polished, professional film scores that do exactly what they should, pressing all the right buttons, but he also appears to lack a certain melodic inventiveness with which the very best composers distinguish their work. In many ways Cmiral is an ideal example of the technical composer and will perhaps win some fans for just that reason. Executive film types particularly like these kind of technicians because they deliver what is expected. But the simple truth is that Cmiral will never be admired in the same way as Goldsmith or Williams or in contemporary terms, Newton-Howard or Elfman.

Whatever the case, with his music here on this retro horror Deliverance meets The Hills Have Eyes production the composer gets to generate a fair amount of tension and unease without coming up with anything at all notable or distinctive. It all has a very familiar ring about it and never aspires to being anything other than what it is, a solid job of work. I’m sure on the strength of this score Elia Cmiral will continue to find employment but I really can’t imagine too many film music fans eagerly awaiting his next project.

Mark Hockley

** 2

Gary Dalkin adds:-

A standard large scale modern horror-thriller score with lots of percussion and uncanny effects going bump in the night, it's all well enough crafted but soon outstays its welcome. The percussion writing bears a superficial similarity to Marco Beltrami's approach to Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines - see my review this month - but offers none of the interest of that far more compelling work.

Gary Dalkin

[not rated]

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