Were expectations in French ‘zombie’ series The Returned influenced by the Mogwai soundtrack?

I finished watching The Returned last night. Loved it. I went to Facebook to discuss, knowing friends had been watching it, and someone opened their comments with:

“Mogwai does not create suspense.”

Mogwai created the entire soundtrack for the series, and they’ve done something a little different to what we might be used to from them, namely much quieter, consistent set pieces, essentially working very well to soundtrack the very level tone of the series. They weren’t being commissioned to ‘create suspense’ in the way we might think. Usually, Mogwai are famous for (and often mocked for it) tracks that start quiet, get loud, go quiet, etc. But they didn’t do that here, and that matched the series. The Returned has sometimes clumsily been billed as a zombie drama, but it’s really not. There’s no high action as such. There are, however, lots of long, meaningful shots of landscapes and actors. The only thing being chewed in this particular zombie take is the scenery (maybe not fair, the acting is actually fantastic). And no one seems to walk very fast, ‘zombies’ or non-zombies alike.

But maybe we expected more of the series, because of Mogwai. Were we waiting for the big crashing ‘loud bit’ we get with a classic Mogwai track? Of course, that may come in series 2, but I’ve heard that One Direction are doing the soundtrack for that, so who knows.

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One Response to Were expectations in French ‘zombie’ series The Returned influenced by the Mogwai soundtrack?

  1. Angela Hind says:

    I loved The Returned – and I’m really not a fan of the zombie genre in general (although I think The Returned is way more than simply a ‘zombie show’).

    I’m not very familiar with Mogwai’s music – so I for one wouldn’t have any expectations about what the soundtrack might do to make the show seem ‘better/creepier/moodier. But I felt that the soundtrack really added to the mood of the whole series and complemented it – yet it was distinctive enough as a piece of art in its own right. My closest recent comparison/reference point I suppose would be the collaboration between Darren Aronofsky, Clint Mansell and Kronos Quartet on the Requiem for A Dream film soundtrack.

    The acting was amazing – particularly from the younger cast members. There was one scene in particular in the series one finale that I found really emotionally draining – way beyond simple shorthand description of a ‘French zombie drama’. I thought another aspect of the series that was particularly impressive was the use of landscape and location as if it were another character in the series.

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