The zombie apocalypse has been and gone. Nine months later, James Fisher survives alone in a deserted Coventry, immune to the virus that has ended the world. But then, another survivor appears from nowhere. The emotional conflict this brings is harder to deal with than the hordes of nocturnal undead.
How did this project come about?
Christopher contacted me on Shooting People and asked me to pitch for a film involving zombies, the end of the world and Coventry. How could I refuse? It was my first full feature project and I was excited.
What were those first interactions like?
Christopher and Paul sent over a few scenes and I drafted them out. I talked them through how I would spot for them and demonstrated some of the thematic material.
What were your inspirations for the score?
We loved the sound used in the Jason Bourne films: a haunting and plaintive cor anglais melody, over the top of an orchestral backing. Rather than use a cor anglais I went with electric guitar using ebow and other processing in places. Alongside this, as with any action film, we went with a strong emphasis on fast, evolving rhythms in the underscore. I liked the axis of switching between different keys and tonal centres within a theme so kept that in mind when creating a theme for Tommy. I switched to solo string parts to get a sense of loneliness and sadness. I also used a fairly dry and exposed piano patch in places to get an intimacy across – most of the first half of the film follows Tommy and his lonely survival.
What elements were used for the zombies AKA deadheads?
So for these guys we wanted something a little more guttural. I recorded some whispered phrases and processed them with all sorts distortion, EQ and reverb. It resulted in this twisted-human quality. The percussive elements included more synthetic and metallic sounds, which gave this chaotic nature to those cues.
What was the most rewarding part writing this score?
Scoring for the big sweeping shots and final scene was great fun. Letting rip with my full orchestral template whilst using the thematic material brought the conclusion together musically. It was great to have the time within the narrative to explore various different themes and create an atmosphere of loneliness and fear within the soundtrack alongside your typical action/thriller aspect.