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Comments about the soundtrack for The Happening (James Newton Howard)

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Cold and effective
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• Posted by: SolarisLem
• Date: Saturday, June 14, 2008, at 2:48 p.m.
• IP Address:

Just watched the movie in the local cinema and, as usual, I payed much attention to the score and its effectiveness in the film itself.

I must confess that only a few months ago I wasn't a big fan of Howards' Scores. I thought they weren't interesting. Boy, i was wrong. With each score my appreciation is growing.

As far as 'The Happening' is concerned, there is nothing I could add to Clemmensens Review, because he is right in every sense. This is not an score for someone who is looking for some good-natured film music. This is cold, effective, heartless subtle and even frightfully simple music made for an movie which is cold, alienating, shocking, subtle and build around an idea that is so frightfully simple and yet so brilliant that you wonder why someone hadnt picked up that idea before.

The Combination of monotone cello and alienating piano, combined with an three-note motif of impeding doom works brilliantly in context. It was not made for being easily listenable. I advise people who are searching for something like that to proceed carefully, because the target audience for these kind of scores are buying these because they want to plunge into an different world re-imagined as music, because they want to be taken on an outwordly journey, because they want to escape reality for fifty minutes, to experience something alien and otherworldy. I am in their numbers. I enjoyed and admired John Williams equally heartless and desperate 'War of the Worlds' for the same qualities. If you also did, dont miss this score. ****

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rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Christian Clemmensen at Filmtracks Publications. Scoreboard created 7/24/98 and last updated 4/25/15.