Home > Reviews > 1408 – Gabriel Yared

1408 – Gabriel Yared

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

An effective little horror movie directed by Mikael Håfström and based on a short story by Stephen King, 1408 stars John Cusack as Mike Enslin, a man who specializes in debunking paranormal phenomena and supernatural occurrences. While researching a new book, and in attempt to disprove another myth, he checks into the fabled room 1408 in the Dolphin Hotel in New York, which has a grisly and famous history. Despite the misgivings of the hotel manager (Samuel L. Jackson), Mike settles in… and soon finds that not all fables are fake.

I can’t think of the last time Gabriel Yared scored a horror movie – or even if he’s ever done one – but the results on 1408 are pretty impressive. A string orchestra augmented by synths is the order of the day, and by and large all the boxes are ticked: a generally low-key opening which gradually adding layers of tension to generate an atmosphere of fear and oppression; unusual and innovative electronic textures to add to the surrealism of the atmosphere (“Room 1408”); and a misleadingly pretty and innocent lullaby theme in “Katie’s Theme”, before all hell breaks loose in the album’s second half.

“Ship in a Painting” is the first of many gargantuan action/horror cues to unsettle the listener, with a full chorus and large orchestral forces in play. “Sinking Ship” continues the trend, sounding like something Jerry Goldsmith or Christopher Young might have written for one of their landmark horror efforts, but like nothing Yared has written before – at least in the mainstream. Other cues feature impressionistic instrumental performances and various acoustic creaks and groans to crank up the sense of unease.

The madness and chaos is tempered by the slightly twisted “Mike’s Fugue” and by the lovely “Olin in the Minibar”, which revisits the warm romance sound for which Yared is best known – but the respite doesn’t last long, as “Back to 1408” and “Don’t You Love Me Any More?” contain some of the most striking dissonance and outlandish orchestral textures heard for quite some time.

Considering the raw deal Yared received on Troy, and bearing in mind that, for the most part, he is still seen as a European romance composer only capable of scores like The English Patient, this is impressive work indeed, and worth seeking out if only to hear a different side to the composer’s musical personality.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • 10 Haunted Hotels (3:04)
  • The Dolphin Hotel (1:45)
  • Room 1408 (7:45)
  • The Doppelganger (2:10)
  • Katie’s Theme (2:48)
  • Ship in a Painting (1:39)
  • Bleeding Walls (4:59)
  • Out on a Ledge (5:25)
  • Mike’s Fugue (2:43)
  • Inside the Vent (4:11)
  • Olin in the Minibar (5:50)
  • Sinking Ship (3:11)
  • Waking up in LA (1:56)
  • Back to 1408 (1:50)
  • Don’t You Love Me Any More? (2:21)
  • Fire! (4:41)

Running Time: 56 minutes 22 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6828 (2007)

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