Kevon Cronin will be a panelist during our “Dissecting Horror” Hunter Hunter panel tomorrow (December 16th) at 6 PM (PST). Find out how to join us by following the link below!
Living in the remote wilderness, Joseph and his family thought the only thing they had to worry about was fending off other animals, more specifically a rogue wolf eating their captured prey. It turns out, more is lurking in the woods than just an aggressive animal. This is the premise IFC Midnight’s Hunter Hunter, hitting theaters and On Demand this Friday, December 18th.
Written and directed by Shawn Linden, the film stars Devon Sawa, Camille Sullivan, Summer H. Powell, Nick Stahl, Gabriel Daniels, Lauren Cochrane, Jade Michael, and Erik Athavale. Ahead of the release, we spoke to the film’s composer, Kevon Cronin, about creating a score that would be both fitting for the remote environment, but also tension building for the events that unfold. Read the full interview below.
Dread Central: At what point were you brought on to the film? After it was already completed or during filming?
Kevon Cronin: I had originally heard about the film through the trades and reached out to the producer because I thought it sounded like an exciting project. I was thankfully brought on board, once the picture was locked.
DC: All of the film takes place in the woods. During the production process, was there ever a time that the score was too overbearing, so you scaled it back? If so, what scenes in particular?
KC: During the initial process of working with Shawn and the producers I was afforded the opportunity to experiment against the picture and see what worked. From there, we were able to pair things back and find a sound and approach that worked for Hunter Hunter.
DC: Did you give the main characters their own themes? If so, can you talk about these?
KC: Since the woods and the environment were so integral to the story, my focus wasn’t so much on creating themes, but sound signatures that related to the characters throughout the film. I did this by experimenting with a cellist named Norm Adams to create unique and textured sonic landscapes for Hunter Hunter.
DC: Horror film scores are very distinct and can almost act like another character at times. Because of this, did you feel any pressure when you started working on the film?
KC: Thankfully Shawn, the director, already had a very clear vision for what he wanted the film to do and for how in wanted the score to integrate into it. Because of his guidance, the quality of acting, cinematography and story throughout the film, my job was really to create a sound environment for the film to live in. And to help move the story along without getting in the way of things.
Because the cinematography, story and acting were so strong, I didn’t feel the pressure to create a score that played a large role in the film. As the role of the score was simply to take a step back and allow these elements to shine through.
DC: What elements of Hunter Hunter did you latch onto from the outset?
KC: The first thing I noticed was the cinematography, which helped to engross the audience in the film. The subtle emotions conveyed by the actors drew me into the project and really got my creative juices flowing.
DC: Did you score the film in chronological order? I’ve heard some composers wait to score the more intense scenes at the end because they are more fully immersed then.
KC: After viewing the film a number of times and speaking to Shawn and the producers, I elected to score the film in chronological order. I feel that this approach gives me a clear understanding of how the audience sees the film and allows me to create a score that develops a score to match the story.
DC: Did you watch any similar movies to Hunter Hunter to get inspiration for the score? If not, where did you get your inspiration for the score?
KC: At the outset, I did listen to a number of scores to see how composers approached integrating the environment into their films. After that, I reached out to my friend, Norm Adams, to develop a unique musical signature for the film through the use of his cello. After that, it was a process of integrating these sounds and experimenting against the picture to create the unique score for Hunter Hunter.
DC: On day one of working on Hunter Hunter, what did you do?
KC: On the first day of working on the film, I sat down and watched it numerous times. I reached out to Shawn, Neil, and Juliette to discuss the approach that they wanted to take with the score and what they were looking for, that wasn’t present in the temp. What I discovered through our conversations, was that while the temp helped to create an atmosphere for the film, it didn’t help to drive things along as well as it needed to. They were also interested in creating a unique signature sound, which the temp also didn’t contain.
DC: What have been some of your favorite horror films from the past two years?
KC: To be completely honest, horror tv shows have really caught my ear in the past couple of years with scores from people like Bear McCreary. I am a particular fan of his work for The Walking Dead. Which makes great use out of minimal elements to create a sense of dread and tension.
You can learn more about Kevon here: https://kevoncronin.com/
Are you excited to check out Hunter Hunter on December 18th? Will you be joining our “Dissecting Horror” panel tomorrow (December 16th) at 6 PM (PST)? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.