Home > Reviews > DEAD SILENCE – Charlie Clouser

DEAD SILENCE – Charlie Clouser

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

The popularity of the Saw and Hostel franchises, and the subsequent arrival of the so-called ‘torture porn’ sub-genre, has spawned a number of imitations, one of which is this film: Dead Silence. Directed by James Wan and starring Ryan Kwanten, Amber Valletta, Donnie Wahlberg and Bob Gunton, the film is a mean-spirited horror flick about a man who, having endured his wife’s ghastly and unexplained death, returns to his home town, to try to find the connection between a series of grisly murders and the old ghost tale of Mary Shaw and her vengeful ventriloquists dummies.

Charlie Clouser, the New Hampshire-born composer/keyboardist/percussionist, has come a long way recently. For those who aren’t familiar with his musical background, he was part of Trent Reznor’s hugely successful industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails from 1994 to 2000, and worked as a successful producer and remixer, before coming to prominence in the soundtrack world with his score for the surprise 2004 horror hit Saw. Since then he has scored both score sequels, the TV series Las Vegas and Numb3rs, and is making a name for himself in the horror genre.

Until this score I hadn’t heard anything he’s written that I’ve liked; Dead Silence has finally broken the trend. Once you get past the clichéd music box lullaby theme which opens the “Main Titles”, Dead Silence is a surprisingly nuanced electro-orchestral horror score, albeit one steeped in Clouser’s industrial/rock background. The strings slash at and ravish the listener, sampled choral effects create a sense of creepy unease, pianos tinkle ominously in the background, synthesized effects growl and gurgle down in the depths of the mix, and vivid stingers jolt the listener to life on a number of occasions.

Cues such as “Dad’s House”, “Guignol”, “All the Dolls”, “Mary Shaw” and “Dummy” are all impressive, for varying reasons. Dead Silence reminded me or a slightly more electronic version of Brian Tyler’s Darkness Falls, a score which I loved, and kudos should go to Clouser for shattering my preconceptions of his work and actually impressing me.

Rating: ***

Track Listing:

  • We Sleep Forever (performed by Aiden) (3:23)
  • Main Titles (2:56)
  • Sheet (1:08)
  • Blood (1:41)
  • Apartment (1:28)
  • Raven’s Fair (0:59)
  • Dad’s House (0:49)
  • Ella (1:29)
  • My Son (1:03)
  • What Poem? (1:31)
  • Caskets (1:57)
  • Motel Hearse (1:22)
  • It Can’t Be (1:40)
  • Funeral (0:49)
  • Billy (2:42)
  • Perplexed (1:25)
  • Steal Billy (0:50)
  • Lips Moving (1:57)
  • Coffin (2:16)
  • Photos (1:36)
  • Map Drive (0:49)
  • Guignol (1:57)
  • He Talked (3:06)
  • It’s Soup (2:09)
  • Full Tank (1:49)
  • Doll Wall (1:37)
  • All the Dolls (1:07)
  • One Left (0:27)
  • Mary Shaw (0:31)
  • Dummy (1:05)
  • Family Album (0:37)

Running Time: 48 minutes 15 seconds

Lakeshore Records LKS-339122 (2007)

  1. Marco Ludema
    January 5, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Have this one on CD, love it. For some reading Clouser’s work really appeals to me.

    • Marco Ludema
      January 5, 2019 at 12:33 pm

      Reason, I meant reason.

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