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Soundtrack Review

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Ruin Me
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack


Composer: Holly Amber Church
Label: ScreamWorks Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 07 July 2018

Screamworks Records releases the motion picture soundtrack to the horror movie Ruin Me for digital download. Ruin Me has a group of teens travelling to Slasher Sleepout – a sort of horror reality event (escape room/haunted house/36-hour endurance trip). Alexandra has never seen a horror film but tags along with her boyfriend, and ends up having to solve a real life murder. Composer Holly Amber Church has previously scored the sci-fi short Archtype, the crime/horror/thriller Rites of Spring, and the supernatural The Devil’s Dolls. New projects include the biopic Butterfly in the Typewriter, and the horror The Toybox. Church’s intention with director Preston DeFrancis’ Ruin Me was to focus on the themes and strong melodic material that morphs and twists with the events in the movie...

Let me say up front that this is one of the most inventive, creepy and claustrophobic horror soundtracks I’ve heard in quite some time. But how have I come to this conclusion? The score is atmospheric from the very start, with piano and dark rumblings briefly introducing the aforementioned string quartet. Piano seems to be intrinsic to horror these days, but it isn’t overdone. The strings which return for the second track are melancholic. 'Slasher Sleepout' has a cowbell and electronic bongo sound (which isn’t as crazy as it sounds), with peripheral rushes, discordant shriek and slam. This is shocking and unexpected. It made the hairs stand up on the back of my neck … and you could call me a veteran of horror!

'Alex Takes Her Pill' leads the listener into a false sense of security, before bringing in a slamming and rumbling which is almost otherworldly. A creepy fluttering, a string build-up and stomping, creates a stalking feel for the following track. Even a prospective pondering scene, such as 'Puzzling it Out', has electronic bells in a simple pattern but with a menacing rumbling in the background, like an approaching storm. 'Alex is Not That Lucky' achieves the same feel but in a completely different manner. 'Tree #4' is a simple Halloween-like slow piano with the intermittent oppressive background. The deep beat frightening feel of menace which comes later is underlined in 'Underwater' by a fluttering string sound with peripheral echo. A melody begins but is taken-over by the rising/falling sound design and retrospective feel. Reassurance vies with the ever-present threat.

'The Trap' begins with a bass tom sound, and then … it all happens! Everything in turn. Even a weird knocking at the door noise. This is stuff you don’t expect to hear and it’s so refreshing. 'The Murder Hole' invokes a wasp swarm, with a shrieking and melody which is not quite allowed to play out. There is a panic-stricken flight feel to 'Running For Answers'. 'The Grain of Truth' has a creeping stomp with high-pitched keys and strings which emerge into a light of realisation – tempered by an almost industrial imbalance. 'End Titles' is a reasonably long suite which conjures-up every emotion you would expect to feel (and some you wouldn’t) in a horror movie.

This is a diverse assortment of quite obviously carefully planned soundtrack music and effects – which still feel very much a part of the overall puzzle. I like this a lot. It avoids all of the modern clichés. It’s a breath of fresh air for the horror music genre. Not only do I want to seek out the film now, but I also feel inclined to check out Holly Amber Church’s other work.


Ty Power

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