RESEARCH: How is Suspense created in the film you watched in class? Analyse 3 scenes in detail
While watching the thriller 'The Stepfather' we had to take down three moments of suspense.
The first scene I selected that I believe portrayed the element of suspense really well, was the point that David brutally murders Mrs. Cutter. I believe the whole setting amplified the suspense, as it took place in her home. From what we could see, from the Mise en scene of the shots, was that it was a sunny day and the house had that undertone of happiness and peace, which was played upon as the diagetic sound and the suspenseful music turned this connotation of normality upside down. In addition, the idea of thinking that there's 'something in the mist, but there isn't', was executed well. When Mrs Cutter looks in to a cupboard door space, however, moments later the cat just leaps out of nowhere and shocks the audience well. Thereafter, the tension was once agin heightened, as a reflection (from a over-the-shoulder angle) of David appeared and he killed Mrs Cutter.
At the start, during the title sequence, in which, the music was being played, which was deep and traumatic whilst showing edits and close ups of the Stepfather shaving and trimming his facial hair. This made the audience feel really uncomfortable, as shaving is one of those normalities in life, however, it’s those normalities that are twisted which give that dark and suspenseful element about them. As we easily presume he is that dark and twisted character, it’s just finding out more about who he is and what he has done, that entices the audience to keep watching. The speed of the shots slows down during the tracking of the photos of a family, which appears to be a showcase of the victims he’s killed. When he enters the kitchen to make his breakfast, which was another factor concerning the twisting of normality, the music of ‘Silent night’ was played, which attributed to that suspenseful element, as we are finding out more about him but not enough for the audience to know. This ‘freaky’ moment of the song being played, brings a thought to the audience, as we presume he is opposing religion or mocking it in one aspect, as ‘Silent night’ is a song that’s commonly used for celebrations in Christian traditions. Suddenly, heavy depth music is placed on the tilting close up shots of the victims he killed, that suspense is heightened as the audience wonders, ‘what has happened?’
The next scene was of Michael and his girlfriend, investigating the possessions in David's room, when he goes out of the house. But then he makes a swift return back to the property, When David is in the house, the tension mounts. As shots of his journey towards the room, are cleverly portrayed. The high angle shot from behind the stairs (as pictured) was effective. The element of hiding and getting away was effective, too. As there was a close up on hangers dangling, thus leaving a sign behind that they got away. That was nail-biting!