BRIGHTBURN / COMPOSER: TIMOTHY WILLIAMS / LABEL: AT THE MOVIES/MUSIC ON VINYL / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Timothy Williams' score for the supervillain origin tale Brightburn, works more as a horror score than for that of a superhero film. It's fitting that Williams' music skews more toward Brad Fiedel's Terminator work than that of John Williams or Alan Silvestri, given the copious amounts of gore and jump scares at play in director David Yarovesky's film.
That said, when separated from the on screen imagery, the score's not nearly as involving a listen as Fiedel's music. Whereas the music for Terminator 2 could soundtrack one's daily workout routine, Williams' score is a mix of quiet mood music, interspersed with more pulse-pounding excitement.
Listening to Brightburn's score as it soundtracks the film, one gets a heightened sense of the visuals on display, but heard on its own, Williams' music is revealed to be played fairly straight, rather than aiming for the back of the theatre. Much like the film itself, the score doesn't play with the conventions of the superhero-meets-horror idea at the heart of Brightburn's storyline.
Nothing's heightened quite to the degree it should be for maximum efficacy, so a piece like Tory and Brandon, which should be emotionally sad at first, then skewing to triumphant terror as it goes to Brandon Unleashed, simply comes across as maudlin. When the action-meets-horror tracks kick in, as it does on cuts such as Real Real Bad Things, The Hunt or Time to Run, it’s superlative, but everything is else is just so-so.
The packaging is, however, excellent, with the iconic poster image for the front cover, and a very iconic scene from Brandon's first unleashing on a victim represented in comic panel form on the rear. The liner notes focus on images of Brandon's mum, Tory, with a full two-page spread of Brandon's face and glowing eyes behind the credits. There's also a full-size poster with alternate art.
It's pressed to ‘blood red’ vinyl, and limited to 666 copies, which is very clever. It sounds a little quieter than one expects from Music On Vinyl's releases, but given the wide dynamic range of the tracks - the aforementioned lack of aiming for the rear of the theatre - the louder pieces would probably cause the needle to jump the groove otherwise.