The 2018 horror film “The Lodgers” directed by Brian O’Malley and written by David Turpin, is the suspense filled story of cursed, orphaned, twins. Rachel and Edwards are bound by the rules laid down in a lullaby. Outsiders must never enter the house, they must retire to their bedrooms by midnight and, above all, must never be separated from each other. If they break any of these rules then they will incur the wrath of the nightmarish creature that inhabits the house. Obviously they break the rules.
With a slight change to the tradition of the director scoring their horror films, on “The Lodgers” the writer, David Turpin, has a helping hand in the films soundtrack. Along with Stephen Shannon and Kevin Murphy the trio have composed a score full of delicate, melancholic beauty. In an age when horror films are sound tracked by endless electronica based, bombastic effects and pounding drums “The Lodgers” goes for a completely different, heartfelt and frankly more spooky approach.
Opening with “Afraid To Love” the listener is instantly immersed in emotive and sinister strings. Softly brooding and gently building, suggestive of shadows and unknown menaces within their dark folds. The soundtrack, as a whole, is based around Orchestral sounds, mildly reminiscent of the Hammer Horror scores but without the deliberately bold pomp. It’s more Chamber music in sound and scale, than Philharmonic. The string pieces are mournful, sorrowful and enchanting. They conjure images of Gothic architecture, ruined churches and wildly overgrown graveyards. They seem to capture the maudlin beauty of decay and the blink of mortality.
Elsewhere there are soft, expressive piano pieces, such as “Arrivals.” The pieces are deceptively simple and the piano is always played with such a fragile, porcelain delicacy that it feels as if, at any moment, the tension will crack and the melody will be shattered. Again the atmosphere conjured is a delightfully haunting, oppressive sadness. When the piano and strings are combine on “Through The Forest” for example, the exquisite, dark delicacy is exceptional.
“The Lodgers” also includes the use of electronic music. Tracks such as “The Dead On The Stair” throbs and pulsates using an aggressively driven, crashing rhythm, creating an extremely tense, urgent atmosphere laden with exhilarating dread.
Although there are hints of horror folk throughout the score, it’s not until the final song, “Lullaby,” that the genre is embraced fully. With a nursery rhyme simplicity of piano and overtly sweetly sung lyrics, “Lullaby” explains the rules of the curse that the twins must abide by. An absolute treat for anyone interested in the horror folk sound.
“The Lodgers” is released by the independent label, Burning Witches Records. A label that specializes in imagined and real scores, a perfect home for such a wonderfully ominous, Gothic infused, spectral film score.