Home > Reviews > THE LAST DAYS (LOS ÚLTIMOS DÍAS) – Fernando Velázquez


lastdaysOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

The Last Days – “Los Últimos Días” – is a Spanish science fiction-horror-thriller written and directed by David Pastor and Àlex Pastor, which looks at the aftermath of a peculiar epidemic which spreads across the globe, leaving its sufferers to have an irrational fear of open spaces that causes instant death. With the majority of the world population now trapped inside buildings, one young man from Barcelona, Marc (Quim Gutiérrez), tries to find his missing girlfriend, Julia (Marta Etura), without ever going outside – but uncovers something terrifying about the epidemic in the process.

The score for The Last Days is by Fernando Velázquez, who made in-roads into the Hollywood studio system in 2012 and 2013 with his well-received scores for The Impossible and Mama, but who still contributes music regularly to the Spanish film industry. As befits the story, quite a bit of the score deals with tragedy and loss; the opening theme, “Julia”, is a piece full of those emotions, as the lead character pines for his missing girlfriend with a gentle piano melody and swooning strings – but things quickly turn horrific and dissonant. This juxtaposition of the romantic and the tense is one of the score’s defining ideas. Cues such as “Your Turn”, “It’s a GPS, Isn’t It?” the brooding “Entering the Subway System”, the tense chorally-enhanced “This Is How It Ends”, and “You Think This Is It?” embrace the darkness inherent in the story, often interpolating contemporary synth percussion rhythmic ideas to drive things forward.

Moments of pure action are rare, but effective when they do appear, with cues such as ‘Run”, “The First To Go”, “Open the Door!” and the epic “Assault on the Supermarket” throbbing to enormous drum layers and surging orchestral runs, while a grating, growling vocal effect – something like a processed throat singer – add a feral, animalistic quality to cues like “What If I Miss?”, “If She’s Still Alive” and “The Hunt”. Thankfully, these moments of intensity are counterbalanced by regular performances of Julia’s piano theme, reminding the listener of the reason for the story. “This Is Where You Leave Me”, the beautiful first half of “There’s Something Going On”, and the soaring, religioso finale in “Agoraphobia” and “Tomorrow-Morrow” remind us of Velázquez’s theme-writing prowess.

For anyone whose only previous exposure to Fernando Velázquez’s music has been through his more lush, emotional works, the tension and creative dissonance in The Last Days may come as something of a surprise. However, I personally think that it is a hallmark of a great composer that he can switch genres and writing styles so quickly, and without a drop in quality.

Buy the Last Days soundtrack from the Movie Music UK Store

Track Listing:

  • Julia (1:02)
  • Your Turn (1:08)
  • It’s a GPS, Isn’t It? (0:32)
  • We’re There! (1:30)
  • Entering the Subway System (1:53)
  • Run! (2:46)
  • This Is Where You Leave Me (0:39)
  • What’s My Name? (2:18)
  • The First To Go (2:17)
  • There’s Something Going On (2:43)
  • What If I Miss? (2:32)
  • Open the Door! (4:57)
  • Breeding Like Idiots (1:32)
  • This Is How It Ends (3:12)
  • Even the Rain (1:47)
  • If She’s Still Alive (0:35)
  • Let’s Build a Fire (1:01)
  • The Hunt (2:18)
  • You Think This Is It? (8:25)
  • On Hostile Ground (3:14)
  • Assault on the Supermarket (14:27)
  • Stepping Outside (1:27)
  • Agoraphobia (2:15)
  • Tomorrow-Morrow (3:37)

Running Time: 65 minutes 48 seconds

Quartet Records SM-025 (2013)

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