The Effect of Music in Horror Movies

Categories: HorrorMedia

Music is a key element in the movies particularly of horror genre. The amount of fear building in horror movies are more often from the music type and timing used in that scene than the acting of the characters. Music adds the emotion and sensation of fear; it takes you to the edge and gives you the sudden scare at the right moment. Creepy sound of various musical instruments is widely used in horror movies. The intensity of fear and scary feelings may not have been inadequate without the use of appropriate music.

Music in horror movies create the atmosphere of fear which makes the movie experience enjoyable. A recent movie, A Quiet Place has utilized music very well in creating a fearful atmosphere. It lets the audience anticipate a scary scene, builds tension and fear inch by inch, yet maintaining the suspense of the upcoming scene. Technically, A Quiet Place has very little voice conversation between actors, but it has all the component, and element of a horror movie with its sound effects at its best.

A Quiet Place is directed by John Krasinski. The story is about two parents and their kids. The evil creature in the movie hunts down and kills human; it cannot see but when sound is produced by human, it can precisely locate and hunt them down in no time. Since humans cannot talk in this movie, the movie uses lot of music for the scary scenes and story flow. The movie opens with the family mentioned above tiptoeing in the forest with carefully taking steps with minimal cracking sounds of dried leaves.

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With the addition of eerie music in this scene, it heightens the element of suspense and fear in the audience for the upcoming scene. The movie does not disclose the image of the creature until towards the second half of the movie. But, it is very successful in creating the thrilling scary moments in the movie with the use of music starting with a slow tempo and then raising the tempo as the creature starts coming closer and closer to humans. The movie has used an unusually creative scene of intense fear when the mother is ready to deliver a baby but, she cannot make a single sound. The music in slow tempo starts to play as she tries to find her pre-prepared sound-proof underground spot. Then she accidentally steps on nail and there is outburst of screeching music and scream from the actor giving audience a big jolt of scare. Scream from mother attracts the creature in to the house, and the tempo of sound restarts from slow. With every sound cue from her, the creature gets closer to track her, the tempo of music keeps going up filling the audience mind with fear and anticipation. The music plays in loop and scene runs so long that in your mind you beg the scene to end so that you can escape out of that intense fear. A Quiet Place is “a thrilling, genuinely scary high-concept hit” (DeFore). According to Brian Tallerico, “A Quiet Place is a nerve-shredder. It’s a movie designed to make you an active participant in a game of tension, not just a passive observer in an unfolding horror.” The soundtracks used in the movie are brilliant in creating the ambience of intensified fear (Tallerico).

Music has been a creative tool in horror movies to make audience reach the ceiling of fear which is necessary to give that heart thumping fright and scream. The use of music in this very silent with no voice conversation movie, A Quiet Place has displayed and proved its potential to create a successful horror movie experience.

Works Cited

  • DeFore, John. “A Quiet Place: Film Review”.SXSW 2018 19 January 2019.
  • Tallerico, Brian. Review:A Quiet Place. 19 January 2019.

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The Effect of Music in Horror Movies. (2021, Apr 26). Retrieved from

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