The Vatican Tapes is Mark Neveldine’s take on demonic possession, which is rather a saturated sub-genre in modern horror cinema. However, music-wise it has a strong composer: Joseph Bishara. Bishara never lets the listeners down, and he knows how to enrich the dark atmosphere of modern horror. Maybe this is the reason why he’s one of the most sought-after composers in horror today, and after receiving fair critique regarding his compositions for the Insidious franchise and The Conjuring, his music for The Vatican Tapes is no exception.
Bishara-lovers will immediately notice that he uses more strings in this score than ever before. There’s even a track, ‘Drowning Innocents’, that is entirely devoted to the duel of strings imitating two wildcats fighting. Along with echoing human choir, the string-driven atmosphere becomes powerful enough to make you want to keep the lights on at night.
The intro track, ‘The Vatican Tapes’ has an incredibly powerful main riff played with strings that are slightly detuned. This melody can be considered as the theme of the movie, and it’s presented in different versions throughout the album. The most terrifying part of the soundtrack is the first half, while the second sounds a bit generic and a little bit dull. Because of that, you might not give it repeated listens but it’s guaranteed to give you the chills that you would expect from Mr. Bishara.
As a horror film aficionado, I always say that you can never go wrong with detuned strings and creepy glockenspiel, so if you’re looking for a soundtrack to accompany your unexplained levitation or late night bone-twisting sessions, just play The Vatican Tapes loud.
–Nurettin Mert Aydin
The Vatican Tapes is out now from Lakeshore Records