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THE FINAL DESTINATION – Brian Tyler

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

As if they hadn’t squeezed enough life out of this franchise yet, The Final Destination – the fourth film in the horror movie franchise – again follows the fortunes of a set of teenagers who cheat death, but then find that Death doesn’t like being cheated, and sets out to claim them anyway. The film is directed by David R. Ellis and stars Bobby Campo as college student Nick O’Bannon who, while attending a NASCAR race, has a premonition that a car wreck will cause a stand to collapse, killing himself and his friends; he convinces everyone to leave before the disaster occurs, but in the weeks following the event, his friends all die one by one in freak accidents.

The late, great Shirley Walker set the musical tone for the first three Final Destination films prior to her untimely death in 2006, and her mantle has now been picked up by the resourceful Brian Tyler, who seems to be specializing in scoring later entries into movies franchises with strong musical identities. As is usually the case with Brian Tyler horror scores, The Final Destination is LOUD, and often makes liberal use of rock stylistics, wailing electric guitars, and a heavy electronic undercurrent, as evidenced by the gut-busting opening “The Final Destination”, or the softer “Moment of Joy”.

The more orchestrally-dominated pieces have a sinister heaviness to them, with surging string rhythms and snarling brass accompaniments, albeit again underpinned by an incessant contemporary synth pulse. Cues such as “The Raceway”, “Nailed”, “Car Washicide” and “The Movie Theater” are breathlessly entertaining, and are occasionally come across as a combination of the horror music Tyler wrote for things like Darkness Falls, crossed with the relentlessly energetic action music from Eagle Eye, which can only be a good thing. Some of the brass writing – especially in cues such as “Revelations”, “Flame On” and “Sushi for Everyone” – is quite magnificent, giving the score a sense of horrific power, almost acting as a leitmotif for the ever-present spectre of death.

A few moments of emotional string and piano-led downtime in “Memorial”, “George is Next” and others, allow the listener to regain their faculties, before the score heads off on another rampage; the more dissonant cues, such as “The Salon” and “Death of a Cowboy”, whine and growl in the depths, getting under the listener’s skin. Tyler brings everything together in the epic 13-minute “Final Destination Suite” at the end, which restates and builds upon all the main moments of the score. It’s all very effective stuff, but with a running time of 64 minutes, does out stay its welcome a little, and by the end of the album you are quite relieved it’s all over and done with. A little judicious pruning might have made the score a tighter listening experience, but the music itself is generally very good, and occasionally rather excellent.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • The Final Destination (2:56)
  • The Raceway (3:07)
  • Memorial (2:46)
  • Nailed (3:22)
  • Nick’s Google Theory (1:30)
  • Revelations (2:28)
  • Raceway Trespass (1:39)
  • Stay Away From Water (2:38)
  • Flame On (1:43)
  • Moment of Joy (1:17)
  • Signs and Signals (2:51)
  • George is Next (1:12)
  • Car Washicide (3:05)
  • Newspaper Clues (1:57)
  • Premonition (1:50)
  • The Salon (3:53)
  • Questioning (1:04)
  • Death of a Cowboy (2:08)
  • Gearhead (1:56)
  • Sushi for Everyone (2:53)
  • The Movie Theater (3:03)
  • You Can’t Dodge Fate (1:28)
  • The Final Destination Suite (13:29)

Running Time: 64 minutes 15 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6983 (2009)

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