Thursday, 20 January 2011

How is suspense created in the film you watched in class.

The Stepfather.
What happens in the scene and what makes it suspenseful?
As we know suspense is the building blocks to any thriller and here are my three most suspenseful moments in The Stepfather and how it is achieved.

1) when Mrs Cutters is murdered;
David searches America's Most Wanted to stumble across the image of him as pointed out by Mrs Cutter. The sound of an aggressive boom initiates the next scene, automatically stating to the audience that she is now his target. The doorbell is rung accomponied with eerie music and when the door is answered the camera switches to a long shot from the inside of her house indicating that her home harbours an intruder. The sound tones down as the door shuts, the visceral effect comes into play with the audience assuming David will predictably jump out at "any minute". Instead false plateau is used and her cat pounces in front of the camera shocking the audience. Dramatic irony then takes its toll as Mrs Cuters follows her cat deeper into her house, the suspense is accentuated with the return of the eerie music. We then see a point of view shot of her cat hissing at Mrs Cutters marking the peak of suspense in the scene because the viewers know false plateau only reguarly occurs once in a scene, bracing the audience and setting a tenseful mood. David's reflection is then viewed in the mirror and the music blasts as she is attacked.
2) When Michaels father is murdered;
The scene commences with Michael's father entering their home and initially going to say farewell to his children. The normality of the scene is quickly abolished when David enters the kitchen to answer the phone and tells his girlfriend that he has not arrived creating a tenseful scene accomponied by a dark non digetic tone. Additional suspense is created when the camera switches to the point of view of Michael's father drawing closer to the kitchen. As he enters the camera pans revealing that David is out of sight, by this point the chilly music had come to a halt commencing the visceral effect as the viewers wait for David to strike. The father's unanswered questions are finally answered followed by a sudden close up of David and Michael's father being pumelled in the head with a glass vase. The final suspense in this scene is of Michael coming near to catching David suffocating his father, however Michael turns around before he goes to the bottom of the basement.
3) Jackie being drowned by david;
This suspeseful scene is inroduced with David reading an email regarding his identity. David then reached for the house phone and cancels jackie's subscription, highly suspenseful because in relation to the title sequence of The Stepfather we see that the murdered family has their newspaper subscription cancelled connoting to the audience that she is going to be murdered as the family in the begining. This is reinforced when the crosscut takes us to the lady in her house. The occuring thunderstorm in the scene also accentuates the tenseful mood. When she enters her backgarden dramatic music begins to play to accentuate the intence weather, the point of view shot also makes the scene more suspenceful as the audience feel that they are in her shoes. Whilst Jackie is pulling in the garden umbrella from the swimming pool the camera zooms out to reveal David startling the audience before he drowns her.

How am I influenced from these scenes?
I wish to incorporate reverse false plateau in my own thriller opening. Making the audience think theyhave figured everything out and brace for something that comes far sooner than expected, catching the audience of guard and enthralling them to continue watching.

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