Composed for the upcoming horror film Hereditary starring Toni Collette and Ann Dowd, Colin Stetson’s new instrumental piece “Charlie” is not for casual listening. It rips your nerves apart. As an Arcade Fire and Bon Iver collaborator, Stetson’s saxophonist background doesn’t lend itself as an obvious choice for horror composition, but his own darkly experimental discography plus his work on 2017 thriller Lavender seem to have prepared him well.
As the theme for the haunted teenage character Charlie, Stetson’s “Charlie” portrays the girl’s disturbed nature with a searching urgency. Beginning with an eerie and spiraling pattern reminiscent of Steve Reich, the track is held together by the sound of a thumping heartbeat, one that beats just a little too fast for comfort. There is a moment of calm in the middle, a skeptical serenity that is swiftly erased by the overwhelming rumble of a drone and a siren of strings. Even without the film’s visuals, “Charlie’s” sleek and chilling sound stands alone and freaks you out.
Listen to “Charlie” and watch the Hereditary trailer below.
“Charlie” and the rest of the Hereditary soundtrack is out 6/8 on Milan Records.