Review Summary: Godspeed-esque soundtrack to popular Zombie film works both as a soundtrack and a seperate album.
As far as Horror films go, 28 Days Later
reigns supreme (or damn close to it). Not just another Zombie flick, the movie’s director Danny Boyle has even gone as far as to describe Day’s
genre as “drama mixed with elements of Horror/Science Fiction, 28 Days Later
combines excellent cinematography, far more emotion than films like The Grudge
could ever muster and sheer terror to make what is possibly one of the best films of 2000’s. A movie this powerful deserves a powerful soundtrack, and with Godspeed You! Black Emperor on board, you know you’ll get just that (well, not exactly considering Godspeed decline having their song, the most excellent East Hastings
, included in the actual album).
Much of the soundtrack is composed by John Murphy; this however does not mean the album is very orchestral. Instead of the usual string sections and drum corps, Murphy uses Godspeed You! Like ambience and borderline evil sounding guitars to great effect. On Jim’s Parents (Abide With Me)
, Murphy ditches instruments all together; instead choosing a heavily reverbed female voice. Vocals, especially lyrics, are sparse throughout the soundtrack: as far as Murphy’s songs go, Jim’s Parents
, is the only track to have comprehensible lyrics; however, Frank’s Death
and quite a few more tracks, make use of lyricless, operatic vocals, here and there.
Then There Were 2
one of the soundtrack’s shorter numbers, first showcases a common feel for the rest of the album: it is comprised solely of a dark, clean guitar riff. Yet, for a film that uses blood, gore and zombies to a great extent, the 28 Days Later Soundtrack
has its share of “feel good tunes”. Grandaddy’s AM180
, one of the few non-Murphy tracks, taken from Under The Western Freeway
, sounds like Pavement, if Pavement were more into synthesizers. The song’s cheery keyboards provide a nice contrast to Murphy’s numbers, and fit nicely with the scene they accompany (the grocery store scene). Similar in feel and use of synths, Taxi (Ave Maria)
, while slightly boring out of context, fits well in the film as well.
Unfortunately, most of the soundtrack doesn’t really touch on East Hastings’
brilliance. However, the obvious standout, In the House, In a Heartbeat
, comes close. In the House
takes place during one of the films most disturbing sequences (think eye sockets + thumbs), and is rehashed an astonishing three times in the film’s sequel, 28 Weeks Later
. The song, in essence one long Post Rock-esque build-up, flirts with piano-flavored clean sections, sinister ultra-distorted guitar and the album’s catchiest non-vocal melody. By the time the crescendo breaks, leaving nothing but clean guitar arpeggios, there is no doubt as to why the song was reused so much in the second film. As a whole, the soundtrack ends on a high note with Blue State’s cool Season Song
and a pair of less evil sounding Murphy compositions rounding out the bunch.
Many soundtracks fail in the same area: they work well in movies, but are either boring or irritating outside the film. 28 Day Later’s soundtrack doesn’t suffer all too badly here. The compositions are interesting (and they don’t all sound the same), and are familiar enough so that one can recognize exactly where many songs came in the movie. Plus, Brian Eno, Grandaddy and Blue State split up Murphy’s songs well. Overall, not recommended if you haven’t seen the film (though seeing the film is strongly recommended), but worth a listen for those who a) have seen it and b) enjoyed what they heard through out the movie.