The original soundtrack for Jon Cassar’s psychological thriller When The Bough Breaks is available now in digital stores. Scored by versatile, experimental composer John Frizzell (Office Space, Alien Resurrection, Fox’s The Following), the movie tells the story of an infertile couple who unknowingly hires as their surrogate a disturbed young woman who forms a dangerous obsession with the husband. When The Bough Breaks opens tomorrow, September 9th in the US.
John Frizzell’s score emphasizes the dissolution of the story’s early hopeful setting into nightmare and mayhem. A 40-piece string orchestra represents the couple’s dreams of finally having a baby, but avant-garde instrumentation takes over when the plot twists. Frizzell is known for his use of evolving music technology, including experimental devices and software. One of his signatures is the blending of acoustic and electronic instruments, in what he calls a chimera or hybrid effect. In When The Bough Breaks, a guitar viol is used extensively, as well as unique constructs including analog synths played through speakers embedded in a cymbal.
Because psychosis is a strong theme in the film, John Frizzell’s score often had to represent the contrast between what the characters are thinking and what is actually taking place. He worked closely with the director Cassar, to create this effect and to select moments for subtle changes in the music. The score plays straight through the last thirty minutes of the movie, challenging Frizzell to keep it fresh and hit the cues seamlessly.
While the film’s story doesn’t come across as particularily special, John Frizzell’s score is very entertaining to listen to, promising an equally good movie. Reaching from happy-family cues like Going to be a Father that dominate especially the first third of the score, to creepy elements like a slightly distorted glockenspiel in the cue Rock-a-bye. If I had to name a favourite cue it would be Breaking The Table as it goes from thrilling drama [I really need to find out how the sound at 1:23 was created, more info soon] to a moment of peace within only a few seconds.
You can listen to the full score on Spotify below:
Composer John Frizzell’s background
John Frizzell has a stellar reputation for scoring thrillers, including Thirteen Ghosts, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, and Fox’s series The Following. Frizzell is also known for his collaborations in scoring comedies for Mike Judge: cult classic Office Space, as well as Beavis and Butthead Do America and King of The Hill. Up next for this multifaceted composer is the new ABC series Conviction, which starts October 3rd, and the upcoming horror film Leatherface, a prequel to the classic slasher Texas Chainsaw Massacre. His additional film scores include Gods and Generals and the TV film James Dean, for which James Franco won a Golden Globe. When The Bough Breaks is the last film on which John Frizzell was able to work with his good friend and music editor Brian Richards, who passed away immediately following the score recording.