Saturday, 15 January 2011

Day3: What makes THE STEPFATHER a thriller film?

I have based my answer on four examples from the movie which I thought were examples of a suspenseful moment.

Example 1: -In the first five minute's of the movie, the titles appear and we are introduced to the main character in the bathroom.
Whilst the titles are appearing with the accompanied non-diegetic music, the camera is tracking around the bathroom equipment (shiny scissor , razor and electrical razor and etc); whilst this is happening, the music has stopped. Soon after, an extreme close up of a man wearing glasses looking at himself in the bathroom mirror and the music plays back again with the title of the music appearing at the bottom left had corner of the mirror (and then disappears). Whilst the music is playing the camera focus is on the man washing and shaving, the use of the mirror, sharp shiny objects (mise en scene) and music in the background would make an audience think that something would happen there and then; but that happens is a little cut on his chin.

Example 2:-In the first two and a half minutes with the man making breakfast.
As the man steps down from the stairs he puts on the stereo and it plays the Christmas song, silent night. This automatically creates the 'christmas-y theme (which *denote*happy, joyful and merry times ). As the diegetic music plays heavily, the man enters the kitchen and makes his breakfast. The camera movement is smooth which makes the audience feel calm, until 3.26 when the camera turns 90 degrees anti-clockwise and we see a child laying on the table motionless. The man walks past and continues with his own business. The camera then focus's on the rest of the motionless bodies that are gathered around the Christmas tree and living room floor, then soon back onto the man watching them. Then there is a focus on the knives in the sink (which he was standing over before). Relating this to how this makes the scene suspenseful - at this moment in time, I felt a little uncertain because of what I had just saw (knives with blood in the sink, dead people lying angst a man that seems calm about the situation)

Example 3:- In the basement
The ear-y stringy music playing in the background with Micheal walking down in the dark. This makes the audience feel that he uncovers the real reason to the secret that is hidden within the basement. In this scene, it is the use of sound, and camera movement which contributes to the increasing suspense that builds ups more and more Micheal took a step downstairs.

Example 4:- Visit to Ms Howard
The doorbell rings, Ms Howard (who was entertaining her cats) had walked to answer the door finding nobody there, while she is walking up to the door, the audience thinks that the man will attack her right there, but he doesn't. She finds nobody at the door. With a puzzled face she walks back into her house (as she does this we think that he is behind her and will attack her ... but he doesn't) and a black cat leaps right in front of her and scares her. The reason why i included this scene in my example was because, in this scene there was a lot of false plateau's. This helped the scene become a 'edge-of-the-chair' suspenseful scene because of the dramatic irony (Ms Howard and David are rivals) and the audience know that their first encounter occurs.

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