A POTENT IRISH CRIME & HORROR SCORE
March 29, 2019
Jerome Leroy on Scoring KILLERS WITHIN – album is out on Milan
– Randall D. Larson
Composer Jerome Leroy’s latest film score is a change of pace for the composer of THE HANDMAIDEN, A BETTER PLACE, and AFTER EVER AFTER. It’s both a compelling crime thriller but it’s also a creepy science fiction chiller that has been released digitally through Milan Records.
Written and directed by Irish filmmakers Paul Bushe and Brian O’Neill, the film is a potent mix of genres that plays out quite effectively. The film is set in Limerick, Ireland, and stars Sue Walsh, Jeff Doyle, and Johnny Elliott in a compelling story of police-officer Amanda Doyle whose son is kidnapped by gangsters; in order to get the money to pay off the gang, Amanda reluctantly takes part in a desperate plot to hold a wealthy family ransom. But this is no ordinary family, and things soon fall deathly out of control.
“The score for this film is a real challenge,” the directors told me as I was preparing to write liner notes for the soundtrack album. “As the writer/directors we are asking a lot from the audience to stay with us on this genre jumping adventure and the music is a place where everything can be tied together. Although the film has all these different genres, beats, and emotions the music still feels very cohesive and evolves and guides the audience along the way.”
Leroy’s score is also unusual for him in that it’s completely electronic, with some digital orchestral samples filling in on the main theme and other cues. The score ranges from the graceful theme for Amanda to percussively-driven heist music to aggressive, horrific electronica including a digital choir to represent the ancient species that Amanda and her cohorts discover during their ill-fated robbery, back to synth action rhythms as they struggle to vanquish the creatures and rescue Amanda’s son from the gang that holds him.
“Having to create a score that could change on a dime without feeling disorienting to the audience was the key challenge in scoring KILLERS WITHIN,” Leroy said. “We start with what looks like a fairly typical action story that moves into the heist film genre territory, eventually goes into horror, and fully settles into sci-fi/fantasy, to finally end up back in the action genre! The filmmakers and I agreed that while the music should fit those scenes, it should also help with creating the necessary ‘glue’ to hold everything together.”
“We were a little nervous about working with a composer based in a different country and time zone but Jerome is so talented that we knew it would work out,” said Paul and Brian. “The three of us communicated over email and Skype. Skype was great as it allowed us to talk face to face. When it came to the approval process Jerome used a platform called Cue.db. It was a fantastic workflow. It allowed us all to keep track of versions and approvals.”
The full liner notes (most of the above quotes are not included in the final notes and have been added as “deleted sentences” here!) can be read on the composer’s website, where you can also listen to music from the score. Milan reports a digital booklet will be forthcoming.
Watch the film’s trailer: