The Prodigy (Joseph Bishara) – Score Review

Joseph Bishara’s horror credentials are nothing to scoff at: The Insidious series, The Conjuring Universe, The Other Side of the Door. The man knows his horror. His soundtrack to Nicholas McCarthy’s The Prodigy, while perhaps not something to wholeheartedly recommend on its own merits as music to listen to, is an effective score for the film featuring some recognisable themes that tie into the characters actions on screen.

Rather than focus on each individual track, I will instead highlight those that particularly stand out. A lot of the tracks (no offence intended to the composer) are a little samey in places but there are still those worthy of specific mention. Track 1 ‘Journey of Trust’ is the theme most often returned to throughout the course of the film, not only by the score but by the actors onscreen. It is hummed throughout the film by the character of Miles, a haunting little melody, the origins of which are never explained within the story.

Track 3, ‘He Couldn’t Wait’, is a gentler affair. The strings more melancholy now, soft and sweet, a whole 86 seconds where the audience can catch their breath before the journey down the rabbit hole and into the darkness continues. The following track, ‘Rebirth Passage,’ is a muffled, atonal affair, tensions rising as the music does, discordant wind and strings giving way to thundering drums before petering out into something unsettling and sinister.

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‘Conscious Violence’ is a stammering cacophony of strings, slowly rising in pitch and urgency to a final crescendo, a sharp and angry assault on the listeners senses before fading off and leading into the sombre, piano led strains of Track 9, ‘A Soul Returns’ and then on into the jump scare-fodder that follows in ‘Dreamt Intruder’ – that has a lovely, loud crash and screech of strings in it for no good reason other than to make the listener flinch. This is most definitely an album that works better within the confines of the film than it does as a solo piece, being designed to enhance the scares on screen before anything else.

A John Carpenter-esque little track called ‘Surface Normal’ has a thumping synth bass line accompanied by an almost choral melody that wouldn’t sound at all out of place playing over The Fog or even The Thing.

Special mention goes to ‘Loaded Moment,’ which starts out with something almost akin to a police siren before morphing into the usual threatening mix of strings and horns. The soundtrack winds up with Track 19’s ‘Hands are Calling’ returning to the familiar theme from the first track, bookending both the score and the events on-screen quite nicely.

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The biggest issue here is the same as with the previously reviewed Miss Bala score. In the confines of the film, these soundtracks work very well. They enhance the scenes without the audience even being aware and the recurrent theme from “Journey of Trust” is woven throughout every other scene in the film. But other than that, the soundtrack is largely a bit on the forgettable side with tracks blurring easily into one another and few of them really sticking in the memory. This is not a soundtrack you will be humming tomorrow morning. Well, apart from ‘Journey of Trust,’ maybe.

Should you find yourself doing that, and having the oddest urge to covet severed hands, we might suggest consulting the services of an exorcist. Quickly.

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