*Note: potentially minor spoilers from some of the track titles
The soundtrack for the upcoming film Brightburn with music by multi-award winning composer Timothy Williams (Wild Horses, Debug, Walking with the Enemy). became available May 10th. The soundtrack features music from the James Gunn and Kenneth Huang-produced film, which makes its theatrical debut in the United States on Friday, May 24. The film is based on a terrifying premise: What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to humankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? In this horrific take on the classic superhero trope, a couple (Elizabeth Banks and David Denman) adopts a baby who came from the stars. While they attempt to raise the boy (Jackson A. Dunn) to use his powers for good, an evil begins to grow inside that he unleashes.
Regarding the soundtrack for Brightburn, Timothy Williams had the following to say:
“Being able to merge two genres which have never been combined before, superhero and horror, was an amazing experience. I was thankful for a close collaborative relationship with the director Dave Yarovesky. We worked on the idea of a main theme at the beginning that would be simple and reflect the emotional investment of hope in the story. You hear this in a three note piano solo theme. As Brandon’s power increases, we begin to feel the weight and power of a large orchestra which then bends and distorts with Brandon’s descent into evil. The low strings and low brass mutate the theme and processed percussion pumps up the tension. Because Brandon is this kid from another world, I got to develop some unique sounds using a bespoke library for the ROLI which bends and pitches sound as well. Overall it was a dream come true to create this sound for a new genre film.”
While Brightburn is described as a merging of the superhero and horror genres, make no mistake about it, most of the music is firmly entrenched in the horror genre. I love how Timothy Williams works with all of these unique sounds to create uncomfortable sensations that make your skin crawl. Some of the tracks will start “normal” but then twist and warp, likely symbolizing Brandon being slowly corrupted by whatever evil dwells inside him. I appreciate how varied the tracks in this soundtrack are. There are some moments that sound very bright (“Breyer Family” is one such example) while others like “Real Real Bad Things” and especially “Called to the Barn” are very, very dark.
As I listened to the Brightburn soundtrack, I was surprised to hear some passages that sounded reminiscent of the work of James Horner, particularly his score for Aliens. I don’t mean this in a bad way, it’s fairly common for composers to be inspired by earlier films, and this could be what happened here. And it makes sense too; Aliens sees the characters encountering a mysterious, undoubtedly evil presence (the xenomorphs and the Alien Queen). And Brightburn, from what I can tell, has a similar scenario. The residents of Brightburn encounter a growing evil in their midst.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to the Brightburn soundtrack. It’s undoubtedly music written for a horror film, but there are enough nuances thrown into the music that I enjoy listening to it. Timothy Williams does a great job using different musical textures to create themes that will make your skin crawl in the best way possible. Definitely check out the soundtrack when you get the chance, and make sure to see the film when it comes out this Friday. Afterward, let me know what you think of the film (and its score) in the comments below and have a great day!
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