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The Cabin in the Woods by David Julyan

Cabin in the Woods

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Cabin in the Woods (Soundtrack) by David Julyan
Cabin in the Woods (Soundtrack) by David Julyan










Cabin in the Woods (Soundtrack) by David Julyan

Cabin in the Woods
Composed by David Julyan
Lakeshore Records (2012)

Rating: 6/10

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“THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a tremendously unique film that should not be missed, but it is accompanied by a score that never threatens to break boundaries in a genre full of formulaic music, although perhaps that is part of the charm when considered as a whole with the film itself.”

Average for Not-So-Average
Review by Richard Buxton


Horror as a genre often proves difficult to judge musically due to the intrinsic relationship between the music and the film. Such is the audio-visual relationship in the genre; it seems almost unfair to judge the two separately. However, given that THE CABIN IN THE WOODS has been granted a score release, the intention is clearly for the music to be judged in such a manner.

One of the great surprises of 2012 so far, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS will go some way to restoring audiences’ faith in the originality of the Hollywood machine. The film is one that anyone with a thirst for something different will almost certainly enjoy. Put simply, THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is terrific. The music, on the other hand, is harder to fall in love with when considered alone. Alongside the film, DAVID JULYAN’S score accents the horror competently, without becoming obtrusive. Away from the film, the score becomes a test of endurance, as frequent periods of relative inactivity try the patience of those willing to seek out the highlights of the score. Like the film, JULYAN’S score experiences a noticeable shift part way through, although fails to truly mirror the wonderful twists and turns in all their glory.

JULYAN’S main theme for THE CABIN IN THE WOODS, first heard in “In The Beginning...” (1) is not one that sticks in the memory upon the first few listens, but creates ample tension while also hinting at some of the more memorable moments the film has to offer. The theme’s rising brass and cascading strings, heard at the end of the opening track, are echoed throughout the score in slightly varying forms. “Punished for What?” (19), for example, provides a more somber and creeping rendition. The theme is rarely given time to develop beyond its initial form, but this is generally sufficient in-film.

A secondary theme, heard most noticeably in “For Jules” (13), and “Youth” (21), dispatches the relentless tension building in favor of frantically descending strings that provide a greater scope of sound and intensity. Many of the moments that require inhibitions to be discarded and full-on orchestral rage to be unleashed descend into the expected dissonant strings and brass that composers so often turn to in moments of terror. What makes THE CABIN IN THE WOODS such a breath of fresh air is its perspective and commentary on the many tropes of horror. It is in these qualities that the score exhibits its greatest weakness. One could argue that in order to satirize the genre, a score as single-minded as those that came before it in the genre is ultimately required. In the case of THE CABIN IN THE WOODS however, the musical moments that transcend the generic traits of the genre are the moments that will be revisited most frequently. “For Jules” and “Youth” are by no means masterful examples of film music, but certainly rise above the remainder of the score in their cohesiveness and are more desirable as a result.

“Herald The Pale Horse (Hadley’s Lament Redux)” is an example of the aforementioned venturing into the standard horror scoring of Hollywood, providing a blood-pumping ride that will ultimately be forgotten soon after it has finished. The cacophony is consistent and fits the visuals, but does little beyond its primary objectives, which brings the challenge of judging of a horror score back to the fore. The primary objective is named as such because it is the most important function. The score is there to compliment the visuals first and foremost, something that DAVID JULYAN accomplishes comfortably, and please the ears later. This is epitomized in the quieter moments of the score where skillfully developed atmosphere and apprehension are favored over complex musical dexterity. “Places Everyone” (5) is an example of JULYAN’S ability to use minimal volume and change to create expectation and tension tantamount to that seen and felt on screen. The very next track is another example of this. In “The Cellar” (6) JULYAN manages to divert his music from becoming just part of the wallpaper, and expertly ramps up the tension when called upon to do so.

THE CABIN IN THE WOODS is a tremendously unique film that should not be missed, but it is accompanied by a score that never threatens to break boundaries in a genre full of formulaic music, although perhaps that is part of the charm when considered as a whole with the film itself. Otherwise, it is a largely average horror score written for an anything but average horror film.

Rating: 6/10


Track Title Track Time  Rating
1 In the Beginning 1:02  ***
2 The Cabin in the Woods 1:57  ***
3 Beware the Harbinger 2:05  **
4 What Could Go Wrong 1:23  **
5 Places, Everyone 2:41  **
6 The Cellar 3:04  ***
7 The Diary of the Patience Buckner 2:24  ***
8 Hadley's Lament 0:40  ***
9 We're Not The Only Ones Watching 4:59  **
10 I Thought There'd Be Stars 2:49  ***
11 We Are Abandoned 1:58  ***
12 The Cabinets Will Have to Wait 2:32  ****
13 For Jules 2:41  ****
14 Whatever Happens, We Have to Stay Calm 2:20  ***
15 And Lo! Fornicus 3:08  ***
16 420 1:26  ***
17 Hearld the Pale Horse (Hadley's Lament Redux) 3:11  ***
18 This We Offer in Humility and Fear 1:44  **
19 Punished for What? 3:39  ***
20 Patience's Lullaby 1:25  **
21 Youth 2:55  ****
  Total Running Time (approx) 50 minutes  


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