The Hills Run Red With The Sound of Music
Review by Marius Masalar
I’ll admit that I went into THE HILLS RUN RED thinking I was in for another aural assault of rumbling synths, wailing dissonances, and uncomfortable things done to innocent instruments. It turns out that I was actually very close to having my expectations fulfilled, as director Dave Parker admits in the liner notes that he initially wanted a typical atonal soundscape for a score. Then he met composer FREDERIK WIEDMANN, whose skills at producing evocative, melodic scores changed his mind. So instead, we get an unexpectedly lush and melodic score, with a degree of sensitivity and orchestrational creativity that rivals the best of Christopher Young’s work.
Instead of relying purely on noise to resolve the tension and horror necessary for this score, Wiedmann creates an uneasy sense by employing an atypical ensemble to perform his score: one including dulcimers, string drums, a profusion of woodwind instruments, and a viola section that’s larger than the string section. The resulting shifted balance establishes the mood without needing to resort to cheaper tactics. It also does a fine job of indirectly addressing the film’s premise of vengeful rednecks and the creepy protector figure of Babyface without being too blatant or stereotypical about it.