Saturday, 8 January 2011

How is suspense created in the film you watched in class? Analyse three scenes in detail

Within lesson we watched a film called 'The Stepfather' a psychological thriller, directed by Nelson McCormick. There are many scenes in the film that consists of suspense throughout.
three scenes that I found full of suspense and kept me on edge was:

The Basement scene

The audience already know that the soon to be stepfather 'David' is a murderer however the other characters do not, (dramatic irony). the idea that he has called Michael his soon to be step dad downstairs to the basement, frights the audience immediately as we assume he may threaten or even kill him. The door is fully bolted and Michael is struggling to open the door, out of the blue we see David hit the door hard and,  as they go down the stairs the doors immediately shuts,the light within the basement is a white light bulb therefore it is not very bright. The way the two sit opposite each other as they are taking shots adds plenty of tension for the simple fact that, the man who is ready to kill this family is sitting right opposite his victim, which links back to the atmosphere being dark and the idea of them being underground emphasises this. Watching this particular scene left me on edge and was very suspenseful for me, just through the technique of dramatic irony and as well as the setting. 

The Second Basement Scene 

Towards the end of the film there is another basement scene. This is the scene where Michael goes down to the basement in search for details on David. I find the scenes in the basements very ironic because, within the film the two main people who are in the basement is David and Michael. Therefore when I watched this scene I assumed that, that was where Michael would be killed. However, it does not happen. What was very suspenseful in this scene for me was the tension within the sound. The sound was very high and action filled with a very fast pace yet, it had a slightly creepy element towards it. The faster the pace of the backing track the more us as an audience thought he would get caught going through David's things. Another suspenseful moment within the scene again, is within the setting and atmosphere. As it is downstairs and everyone is asleep as it is really late at night, some may find it quiet creepy furthermore there is a harsh storm and plenty of rain so it emphasises the genre of thriller. Also the sound effects used to create the weather noises such as the ghastly winds being tied into the backing track emphasises this.

The scene at the neighbour's house - False Plateau

When the audience expect something to happen i.e the audience know that a character is about to die however, instead of a killer tapping their shoulder it is someone else, this is known as a false plateau.
There are many scenes within the film that are full of suspense and use this such as when the audience expected David to pop out of the closet although, it was a cat instead who scared their neighbour. Although some would say that this is not very suspenseful it still leaves the audience on edge. This is because it makes them feel like they must watch closely because, although the cat popped out, it does not mean that when she turns around David will be right behind her.

An aspect within this film that may influence my own film is the use of false plateau and, the setting this is because, by using the false plateau both the audience and the characters are being 'scared'. This gives the audience a chance to feel like they are in the character/victim's shoes. The setting however, may also influence my film because, the quieter and darker the setting the more suspense and tension there is.

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