Home > Reviews > SPLINTER – Elia Cmiral

SPLINTER – Elia Cmiral

October 31, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

Czech/Swedish composer Elia Cmiral has fallen a long way down the film music pecking order since the comparative heights of Ronin in 1998 and Battlefield Earth in 2000, to the point where is now a go-to guy for a large number of low budget horror directors. Cmiral’s latest film, Splinter, is another one in a long list of gore-fests: directed by Toby Wilkins, it stars Shea Whigham, Paulo Costanzo and Jill Wagner as a young couple and an escaped convict who find themselves trapped in an isolated gas station by an evil parasite which, when contracted, mutates the body of the host into something resembling a human porcupine.

As has been his oeuvre of late, Cmiral’s score is a synth/orchestra hybrid, heavy on textures, electronic rhythms and unsettling effects, light on anything melodic or which could be considered ‘orchestrally inventive’. Cues such as “Sinister Gas Station”, “Infected” groan and throb to various unpleasant industrial sound designs and chaotic collisions of sound, only employing their strings when they want them to screech at the top end of the sonic register, although “Dennis’ Sacrifice” does offer a brief moment of warmth in the darkness with a gentle string theme which, when placed alongside the rest of the score, seems like Handel’s Messiah in comparison.

It’s all rather dispiriting, really, and shows little of the enthusiasm or innovative writing low-budget horror films often allow their composers, when freed from the demographic shackles of the studio system. Had La-La Land and Cmiral never released this score, it’s likely no-one would have ever noticed, and that’s probably the most damning criticism I can make.

Rating: *½

Track Listing:

  • Main Title (2:09)
  • Sinister Gas Station (2:21)
  • Attendant Kills Lacey (1:06)
  • Dennis’ Sacrifice (1:55)
  • Road Kill (3:11)
  • Infected (1:09)
  • Driving to the Forest (1:47)
  • Attendant Attacks Again (1:36)
  • Hook the Radio (1:58)
  • It’s Not Lacey Anymore (1:49)
  • Seth and Polly (1:20)
  • Run to Cover (1:59)
  • Dennis Goes Outside (2:56)
  • Looking For the Hand (1:55)
  • The Cops Are Here (2:35)
  • Seth Walks to the Car (3:44)
  • Inside the Freezer (3:39)

Track Listing: 37 minutes 09 seconds

BSX Records BSXCD-8844 (2008)

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