His work on everything from Scream and the Halloween remake to The Hurt Locker and Jonah Hex have made him the composer of choice for the likes of Wes Craven for two decades.
So when it came to remaking Susan Hill’s disturbingly creepy novella The Woman in Black, Beltrami must have been top of the list for director James Watkins. As you would expect, every track in his score for The Woman in Black carries the required undertone of anxiety and fear but the piece ‘Tea for Three plus One’ tells you everything you need to know about the film.
Gently haunting, it starts with an almost playful nursery rhyme feel – telling the listener that children are involved but that all is not well – before descending into something more foreboding and tailing off with the sense of a story unfinished.
By contrast, the title track is rather weak, offering an air of melancholy rather than fear. When the viewer sees the Woman herself during the film, her appearance sends a shudder down the spine, whereas this piece holds no threat and even implores the audience for sympathy.
Perhaps it is that mixture which makes the film a moderate success – a confusion of the senses which leaves the mind unsure if the main protagonist is pure evil, twisted or even desperately disturbed.
The most impressive part of this score is the similarity and contrast between the title track and Arthur’s Theme, written for the unfortunate Arthur Kipps, who attempts to bring peace to the restless spirit. While her track, as mentioned, carries an air of sadness there is more hope to Arthur’s song and, although it becomes darker as it progresses, it never reaches the depressive levels of the Woman’s theme.
In summary, this musical score is solid, dependable thriller-fare but nothing stands out as special. While there is nothing unique about there is nothing really wrong with it: rather like the film itself, which will fade from memory as soon as Daniel Radcliffe’s star wanes.
The Woman In Black is published by Silva Screen Records and is set to be released on 12th March 2012