Reviews - "Cassandra Aria" from Scream 2

Review by Ian Davis

It seems unbelievable that Beltrami was not used as composer of what amounts to a 2 minute cue. Perhaps it was thought Beltrami's repertoire was not "theatrical" enough? Hardly. Elfman's contribution, for what it's worth, is for the most part hidden behind the clattering and chanting of actors. Any hint of stylistic contrast to non-diegetic soundtrack (and to be honest I think Beltrami could have done something equally effective) is thereby totally smothered. Personally I found the idea a weak ploy, and, although added mainstream exposure can only do Elfman good, the effect of the resumption of Beltrami's music would surely pass largely unnoticed by the regular cinema-going public.

In itself the music is at least of a decent standard even for Elfman. His return to the mournful gothic greys of Darkman and Night Breed is coloured by a more effective and inventive use of chorus (something which is first noticeable in Mars Attacks!) and a battery of sounds which come straight out of Mission: Impossible. His use of strings and lower brass is predominantly to provide a grand but gloomy atmosphere; Elfman wisely avoids the temptation to use melody in any recognisable form. How closely he worked with Wes Craven on the scene I have no idea, but the synchronisation of chorus bellows and appearances of the masked killer towards the end of the cue are so well placed that I suspected Beltrami's precise shock tactics had taken over by the end. Without a decent soundtrack I won't know until someone here tells me.

Verdict: as nice as this short track is, it doesn't merit the purchase of a CD, even if there was one available. Elfman completists should campaign for its inclusion in a new compilation. Otherwise watch the film and strain your ears for the gems.

Rating: **1/2


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