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Thursday, 13 January 2011

How is suspense created in ‘The Stepfather’ analyse three scenes: RESEARCH

The film I watched was ‘The Stepfather’  the film was based on a thriller about a man who was a mass serial killer of families. He specially looked for families with divorced mothers and made his way into their home as a family member.
The three scenes that I found contained the most interessting suspense were:

The opening of the film, which is the kitchen scene:
At the begging of the film, the scene begins with a father getting ready to leave for work. While he is making his breakfast there is holy music playing in the background which in a way creates suspense to the viewer. When the camera tilts it generates a sense of contrast between the image on the screen and the holy music being played in the background. This immediately catches the viewers attention, and the person watching would want to want to find out what will happen next. The fact that the room is very pasty mirrors the lifelessness of the setting and creates a very moving and emotional first expression on the viewer. There is a another unexpected contrast included in the first scene and that is when the stepfather gets a flashback of the night before, this creates a very big sense of distinction between the two scenes.

The walk-in closet scene:
This is a considerably short scene, but I believe it creates a very big sense of suspense and anticipation. In this brief scene, the older son and his girlfriend have gone inside his mum and stepfathers room to see if they can find out anything about him thinking that he will be out for a while, but under a fast change of events the stepfather comes homes earlier than planned and puts the two teenagers in an uncomfortable and nervous situation. There isn’t any music included but just footsteps of the stepfather walking however then begins a slow rise in suspenseful music, which is quickly stopped when the stepfather opens the door to the older sons room (Michael), it then the music begins again when he leaves the room at a much loader and faster pace and carries on rising until he opens the curtains to see that the two teenagers are not in the pool. The scene climaxes when the stepfather doesn’t find anyone in the walk-in closet. Right before he opens the door the scene is accompanied with a quick burst of music which creates suspense and anxiety. The fact that there is no one there surprises both the stepfather and the viewer but at the same time relieves the viewer to know that they had escaped.

The sister being drowned scene:
This is a very well set out scene which creates a very huge sense of suspense being built up. In this scene the sister is getting ready to leave the house to go on holiday and is switching of the lights. After switching off all the lights she hears a noise which came from the outside swimming pool and goes to see what happened. There is no music included at this point only the sound of the rain and her switching the light off. However when she walks out to the swimming pool the sound of the rain rises, also there is a thunder and fast paced thrilling music begins to accompany the scene which creates a large sense of anxiety. When she is getting a stick to pull the umbrella out of the swimming pool the film has used a POV shot which creates the sense of her being watched and conveys the idea that the stepfather is there. Also the fact that there is object in front of the view of the camera also adds to the idea that she is being watched and carefully fallowed. They have used a shot underwater so you can just see the umbrella this helps build up suspense because you can’t see what is happening. They then carry on a shot reverse shot of a close up of her and her pulling out the umbrella which creates anticipation of what will happen next. Just when she succeeds in getting the umbrella out, there is a mid shot of her and someone’s legs who we rapidly assume is the stepfather. After drowning her the film again includes a shot from underwater but this time you can see the stepfather which creates a link with the earlier shot.

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