Sinister Screens

The Piper (2023) ★★★

The Piper


When a composer must finish her late mentor’s concerto, she discovers that playing its music summons deadly consequences.


First off, RIP Julian Sands. I was introduced to his unique screen presence in the film Warlock (1989). The British actor was found dead in June 2023 after going missing while hiking on Mount Baldy near Los Angeles in January of that year. While not his last, The Piper is among the last of his films to be released. Besides the aforementioned Warlock, his horror genre credits included Rose Red (2002), Dario Argento’s The Phantom of the Opera (1998), Arachnophobia (1990), Gothic (1986) and many more. He will be missed.

The Piper surprised me. I really wasn’t expecting much, maybe another 2-star review, but it exceeded this. While not a classic by any means, it was a creepy take on the fable “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” which dates back to the middle ages. This movie orchestrated the theme in a haunting earworm of a melody throughout. I’ve always felt that the vibration of sounds are mind-altering to a degree, much the way it is said that bass may trigger anger. The possibility of horror evolving from a malevolent tune or its composer is intriguing, much like in H. P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Music of Erich Zann.”

The monster in this film, which is the Piper, was not executed all that well. A little cheesy in the more low-budget of ways. The movie did rely on some cheaply filmed jump scares. The classic child rolling a ball into the shadows trick. You guessed it, it rolls back. Really a no-spoiler spoiler there.

Overall though: interesting premise, decent acting and a really eerie, gloomy set. There’s far worse ways to spend about an hour and a half of your time.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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