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Oculus

Oculus Soundtrack (The Newton Brothers) - CD cover
Composer: The Newton Brothers
Release date: 04/08/2014 (Film release: 2013)
Label: Varèse Sarabande (030206726381)
Type: Movie
Format: CD, Download
Reviewers (9.00/10)
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1. Recurring Dream
2. The Auction
3. Moving IN
4. You Promised Me
5. Juice Box
6. Kaylie's Nightmare
7. Graphic Photos
8. The Mirror
9. Grotesque Cow
10. The Other Woman
11. Memories Surface
12. Dead Plants
13. We Have a Gun to Its Head
14. History Of the Mirror
15. Fuzzy-Trace Theory
16. Mason Was Sick
17. Fingernails
18. Book Stacking
19. Whispers in the Glass
20. Who are you talking to_
21. The Reveal
22. Marisol, Marisol, Marisol
23. Shifting Glass
24. Marie's Breakdown
25. Lightbulbs & Apples
26. _Seeing Things
27. Broken Plates
28. She Needs A Doctor
29. This Isn't Real
30. Staring Eyes
31. It Won't Let Us
32. I've Seen The Devil and He is ME.wa v
33. A Mother's Embrace
34. Oculus
35. Oculus Remix
36. Oculus of Glass

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Review of John Mansell, submitted at , score: 9/10
There has in recent years been a veritable onslaught of movies of the shock/horror variety. THE CONJURING,PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and SINISTER to name but three. These horror fests and others like them have in effect given the horror genre more credence as they are not just slasher tales or things that go bump in the night fests, but they contain storylines(some based on true events) that require a certain amount of thought and concentration from watching audiences, so in effect they have been instrumental in aiding the evolvement of the genre. Along with these thinking mans tales of horror also comes a new direction in the musical scores for these types of films and the score for OCULUS by the Newton brothers is certainly no exception to this trend. OCULUS contains a vibrant and pulsating soundtrack which is a mix of sound design synthetic and symphonic, the composing duo who have become ever more active over the past 5 years in the writing of music for films and have produced a score that is edgy, foreboding, harrowing, apprehensive and just downright scary. The fusion of both synthetic and symphonic elements within the score is seamless and highly original, the music and musical sounds although being atonal and at times quite harsh still retain elements of melody which do rise to the surface giving the listener a respite from the fearsome and malevolent sound that is achieved throughout the majority of the work. The score comprises of metal scrapes, off key instrumentation and a constant pulse that runs throughout the work representing the ever present mirror. Track number 4, YOU PROMISED ME is one of the more calming interludes, strings perform a slow adagio that is short lived but also highly affecting, creating an atmosphere that posses a slight touch of melancholy and relays a sense of solitude or reflection. This theme or at least a variation of it returns in track number 33, A MOTHERS EMBRACE, on this occasion it is introduced and interspersed with more ominous sounding music but the theme rises and swells becoming more romantic, emotive and fulsome. Track 35, is a little more up tempo but still retains the rich darkness and fearful atmosphere of the score, re mixed by Paul Okenfold, OCULUS-REMIX, is an interesting take on certain elements of the main score, children’s choir being brought into the equation to lend an even more sinister air to the proceedings. The Newton brothers have certainly created a soundtrack that is attention grabbing and also a score that has a unique and individual sound to it. Okenfold also worked on the final track on the CD a vocal which is performed by Greta, this is an enticing and also a little bit of an unsettling listen, but saying this it is probably a cue that will be returned to many times, it is haunting and infectious with a slight offbeat backing, the composition building and moving slowly but surely to its conclusion. The soundtrack Cd is made up of a number of short and sharp cues all of which combine to make up a really chilling but attractive listening experience.
The score works superbly in the movie and as a fan of quality film music I have to say it certainly has more than a few glorious moments away from the images it was intended to enhance.

Read other recent reviews by John Mansell: Addio, Fratello Crudele, The Dark Side of Light, Pompeii

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“OCULUS will freak you out and take you on an emotional roller coaster. Even our score--lullabies, distorted broken glass, a children's choir,” said Newton Brother Taylor.

“An interesting part of the scoring process was paying attention to the moments where there needed to be a void of score. Specific scenes of the movie depend on you being taken by surprise surrounded by moments of chaos,” explained Andy. “The trick was to musically land the plane gently so you feel a sense of natural calm and then to hit with textures and sounds that are jarring and discomforting.”

Film and television composers The Newton Brothers (Andy & Taylor) have been making music since they were kids. Both raised on opera, radio, concerts and movies, The Newton Brothers find influence from greats such as Puccini, Debussy, Elmer Bernstein, Kraftwerk, NIN, The Beatles, Bernard Herrmann, Hall & Oates and Erich Korngold.

Their credits include Wayne Kramer’s dark comedy PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES (starring Paul Walker, Matt Dillon, Elijah Wood and Brendan Fraser) and Tony Kaye's acclaimed dramatic feature DETACHMENT (starring Adrien Brody, Lucy Liu, Christina Hendricks, James Caan). The Newton Brothers have scored and written songs for feature films such as SETUP (directed by Mike Gunther), REVOLUCION (directed by Rodrigo Garcia), and THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES (directed by Mark Pellington). This past year, they had three films at the Toronto International Film Festival, LIFE OF CRIME, PROXY, and OCULUS. Currently The Newton Brothers are working on SOMNIA which they are co-scoring with Danny Elfman.

Ten years ago, tragedy struck the Russell family, leaving the lives of teenage siblings Tim and Kaylie forever changed when Tim was convicted of the brutal murder of their parents. Now in his 20s, Tim is newly released from protective custody and only wants to move on with his life; but Kaylie, still haunted by that fateful night, is convinced her parents’ deaths were caused by something else altogether: a malevolent supernatural force unleashed through the Lasser Glass, an antique mirror in their childhood home. Determined to prove Tim’s innocence, Kaylie tracks down the mirror, only to learn similar deaths have befallen previous owners over the past century. With the mysterious entity now back in their hands, Tim and Kaylie soon find their hold on reality shattered by terrifying hallucinations, and realize, too late, that their childhood nightmare is beginning again...

“The theme for the mirror ended up being this pulsing bass…super simple, but incredibly effective,” said Taylor.

“Larger bass and celli sections were really helpful in achieving some severe chaos,” described Andy. “At several points of the film bass, percussion and synths were playing independent of the string section. We think it proved to be very effective.”
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