Other than Johnny Depp, the other highlight of director Tim Burton’s films is composer Danny Elfman’s music. The American, whom we would like to thank for the wonderful 1989 Batman movie theme, has scored the majority of the works for his long time friend. How the two manage to cook up chemistry is beyond us, but here we have the Californiaborn’s latest work for the visionary filmmaker.
The 21 tracks on this 52 minute soundtrack album cast a creepy picture of spine chilling weirdness. That’s only apt, considering how the movie’s protagonist is an imprisoned vampire who is set free, only to return to his ancestral home to find his dysfunctional descendants needing his protection. The Oscar nominated musician brings together his best gothic inspirations to put together this score which somewhat feels underwhelming. The overall gloom feels awkwardly self conscious, something which we can ascertain whether is intentional.
“Dark Shadows - Prologue” provides the overarching feel for the album. The cue showcases the main theme which paints a sinister backdrop with sinister strings and percussions. The rest of the album doesn’t leave much of an impression, except for “The End”, where there are suggestive mentions of the main theme. The rest of the soundtrack offers brooding underscores, which, although easy on the ears, do not showcase Elfman’s talents which we have heard on other works.
There are some decent action cues on this soundtrack. “The Angry Mob”, “House of Blood” and “Final Confrontation” are not your conventional hard hitting tracks, but something more menacing and ominous sounding. If there’s anything fellow composer Hans Zimmer can take away from Elfman, it would be use of a fuller sounding orchestra to achieve the appropriate emotion relevant to the film’s story.
Elsewhere, there are oddities like “Shadows (Reprise)” which infuses a outlandish sounding electronic synthesizer into is rhythmic thump, as well as “More The End” and “We Will End You”, which seem like unwilling departures more than anything. All in all, we’d like to say that this isn’t a mediocre soundtrack – we were just expecting a little more from the Burton Elfman pairing.ALBUM RATING:
Recommended Track: (1) Dark Shadows – Prologue
Review by John Li