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Soundtrack Review

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Imago Mortis
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)


Composer: Zacarías M. de la Riva
Movie Score Media
RRP: £13.99
Available 07 July 2009

Young composer Zacarías M. de la Riva's score for the Italian/Spanish horror film Imago Mortis is a stylish, dark and beautiful orchestral/choral score that slots into the gothic tradition of horror film music. The score was designed to reinforce the fairy tale and gothic aspects of the story and de la Riva hired the Bulgarian Symphony Orchestra and Chorus to create the desired sound. Starring Geraldine Chaplin, the film follows a scientist obsessed with reproducing images before the invention of the photograph. He discovers that by killing a victim he can reproduce on paper the last image imprinted on that person's retinas. In modern times a sick killer appears to be reproducing these experiments...

Zacarías M. de la Riva's score for Imago Mortis has so many different themes and emotions weaved into it that you could be mistaken for thinking that this is a selection of highlights from a collection of films. There isn't a dull track here

The opening theme "Following Instructions" has one of those slow builds to a beautiful peak that always makes the hairs on the back of my neck go up in the cinema. This section (which reaches its peak just before the one minute mark) feels very much like music designed to accompany an establishing crane shot.

Other highlights include:

The opening to "School" reminded me of Thomas Newman's music for The Shawshank Redemption, while the last segment brought to mind Nathan McCree's music for the first Tomb Raider game.

The first segment of "Watching" has a sense of Howard Shore's music for The Silence of the Lambs, but this soon builds to a beautiful, quite haunting theme which suddenly crashes into a brief moment of chaos, before yet another beautiful theme starts to build up.

At the core of "Stairs" is, what I consider to be, this soundtrack's main theme. A beautiful track that is echoed occasionally throughout the album - but it's in its full glory here.

"Death" showcases this soundtrack's other notable theme - a flute centred track which descends into chaos before stopping abruptly, and then continuing in a much more low key fashion.

"The Cave" opens with a hint of John Williams's score for Jurassic Park (most notably "The Raptor Attack").

"Pills" builds slowly, but beautifully but pulls up short before the expected peak in the music.

"Big Window" revisits the soundtrack's most dominant theme (which was central to "Stairs").

Over this album's 30 tracks there are more memorable themes than most composers manage to squeeze into a handful of soundtracks. This is certainly a release I'd recommend adding to your collection.


Darren Rea

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Zacarias M. de la Riva - Imago Mortis (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
£7.99 (iTunes GB)

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