Sunday, 16 January 2011

Suspense, Thriller & The Stepfather!

...What does suspense mean?

The word 'suspense' is used to describe a state of uncertainty. I personally think it means being anxious or 'in waiting' mode. The word suspense has both positive as well as negative connotations.

In a positive sense, it can be used to describe a sense of pleasant anticipation about something about to happen. It could be used to describe the way you feel in a situation where you know there is a pleasant surprise in store
for you. It could also be used to describe a negative situation too. For example it can be used to describe the way you feel as you wait for some potential bad news, or waiting for somehting scary to pop up in a film and make you jump.! Suspence is used in film genres such as thriller and horror films. They really do keep the audience at the edge of their seat!

Below are some images that represent suspence/horror/thriller films;


... As you can see, this image captured from a film creates suspence as their is dramatic irony. This means the audience of a film know somethiing that particular characters (or victims) in the film do not know. In this image, we can see that the man is about to stab the women, but she is not aware of this. This image does set your heart racing!

... As you can see, this simple image of a dark tunnel creates suspsence, because as the camera moves closer and closer to the end of the tunnel (in the film), we become more afriad of what might be at the end of it, we as an audience will be alert as we almost wait, as we expect something to pop out and frighten us!

... Even Michael Jacksons famous video 'Thriller' creates a lot of suspence and many people find the video thrilling! In the video Micahel Jackosn and the other dancers are dressed as zombies and they look very horror-like'. Some are dressed as withces, some with horns in their heads, evil eyes, claws, big monster feet, blood-stained skin and clothes and so on! It really does give you a thrill!

Click on this link to get a short clip from the video! (The HTML for the video was not available thats why I have given the link instead)

....What is 'Thriller'?

  A Thriller is a book or film which is designed to keep the reader or viewer on edge with suspenseful and sensational action. Thrillers typically involve sudden plot twists and lots of red herrings, for example, keeping people unsure about what is going to happen. This suspense can get almost unbearable, especially in a long piece or a television series!! Thrillers also have a lot of action, which is often chaotic, and they typically feature resourceful heroes (which makes the audience very relieved!!) and exotic settings. 'Thriller' is actually a very general (and quite vague) title as it is split into other sub-genres as there are various types of thriller genres in the film industry. In our media lesson last week, we learned the different thriller sub-genres, they are;
Political/conspiracy, pyscological, paranormal/supernatural, romance/murderous passions, action, crime, disaster,legal/courtroom, spy, horror, inncoent on the run, acquired identity, mystery.. (phew!) Below are a few images of some the different thriller sub- genres....

Crime thriller...

Mystery thriller...

Romance thriller...
Action thriller...

What thriler sub-genres inspires me the most....

The thriller sub-genre that inspires me the most (or the genres I prefer) is romance, crime, disaster, horror and mystery thrillers. I prefer these becasue I perosnally think they add more suspence to a film and films that are based around these themes do keep me off the edge of my seat and keep me interested throguthout the film. I also think these are the sub-genres my group will be considering in the planning of the making our own two- minute thriller film! I can't wait!

In one our lessons with Bernard, we watched a thriller film called The Stepfather. This film was very good and I think everybody in the class would agree too. This film is described as a 'mystery thriller' online, but i perosnally think its a mixtue of mystery/crime/romance/horror (yes i know! Seems to be quite a lot of genres for just one film!) The film really inspired me and gave me a few ideas of how to build up tension and suspese when it comes to making our own film in my group.

The Stepfather....

I'm not going to write down what happens word-for-word, so I've written a short summary of what the film is about;

"Michael returns home from military school to find his mother happily in love and living with her new boyfriend who is the undercover murdurer!! As the two men get to know each other, he becomes more and more suspicious of the man who is always there with a helpful hand. He seems to be the only one to realise Davids suspisous and strange actions, and he gets the feeling that something just isn't right. In in the end, he proves himself right as he, his girlfirend Kelly and his mother witness David trying to kill them all. They all survive.. however he escapes just before the cops come... on a mission to make another family victims.... SCARY OR WHAT!?"

To be honest the film really did freak me out and I liked the way the film built up suspence, tension and fear! Even at the beginning of the film, it was obvious what kind of person David was as it showed him in a house where a mother and her children were lying on the floor dead. It looked like they had been murdered as there was blood stains everywhere, including on themselves. However, David seemed to completely ignore this and walk past them happily making himself a cup of tea and a slice of toast as if nothing happened. It was obvious he was responsible for their murder. However, this did not spoil it for me! It was quite obivous that he was going to make another family a victim but it was still scary and kept me thrilled the whole way through! 9/10 fot that film!

... Below are images of the four main characters of the film;

This is the crazy stepfather Dylan Walsh who plays as 'David'

This is the son Penn Badgley who plays as 'Micheal'

This is Michaels girlfriend Amber Heard who plays as 'Kelly'

This is Michaels mother Sela Ward who plays as 'Susan'

The three scenes that had me on the edge of my seat!!!

1. THE BLACK CAT VS THE MURDERER; In this scene, we become fully aware of how dangerous David is as he browses on the internet for  'Americas' Most wanted'. A drawing/skecth of his face appears which resembles him very well. One of their neighbours is an old women (Mrs Cutter). She seems to suspect that he is a dangerous man and David himself is aware that she knows something that she shouldn't. To avoid himself getting caught, it is obvious that this is his exuse to try and kill her. After this scene, it cuts inside the old womens house. Tension builds as she gets the feeling that someone is in her house. The lights are dim, and there are close up shots of her facial expressions and she looks very scared. She holds on tightly to her kitten for comfort. There is suspenseful music that plays in the background, and the pace of the film slows down. It is obvious somehting (or David) is going to pop out from nowhere and attack her. However, after all our our waiting in fear it turns out that instead, her other cat is the one that jumps out from nowhere, screeches and then quickly runs away. We immediately become shocked but then we are revealed at the same time as we realise it is only her cat... but after about two seconds later, guess who appars? DAVID! At this point we are really freaked out and I remembeer the whole class almost screaming together in total shock! I was very impressed by this technique the film producers used and I learned it is called a 'false plateau'. Sadly, the Mrs Cutter was attacked by David, he pushed her down the stairs and she died.

This is the old women that gets attacked (Mrs Cutter) :'(


2. MICHEAL INSPECTS THROUGH DAVID'S THINGS; It gets to a point where Michael (after endless re-assurance from his girlfirend that nothing is wrong) becomes so suspicious that he decides to look through Davids things when he pops out. Kelly is not happy with the idea and tries to convince him to stop but in the end she finds herself following him anyway. Suspense builds up as the scene cuts, and we see David doing a U-turn as he drives back home as he gets a phone call from Susan telling him that she is already on her way to pick up the kids so he shouldn't bother!!!! Dramaic irony is created as we know that David is on his way home, however Kelly and Michael are unaware of this... As Michael looks through David's things trying to find evidence of anything dodgy, Kelly keeps on the look out.. she hears a funny noise downstairs and begins to panic! Theyr realise that Daid is back on the premisis! They look around the room wondering where to hide and at this point my heart was racing! Michael smells a rat as he realises they are no longer in the pool together (as they were when he left them) and he cautiosuly makes his way inside the house and up the stairs, as we sense that he gets the feeling that something isn't right.....

He first looks through Micheals' room, calling out their names, but there is no reply. The scene then cuts to Kelly and Michael and they look so scared as they wonder what to do. David places his hand on the handle of his room and is about to open the door, suspense builds as we feel as though they are about to get caught, however as he opens the door, the room is empty... we become releaved but then David is still suspicious as he sees one of the hangers in his wardrobe rocking backwards and forward... The scene cuts to the pool and we see kelly and Michael playing together as if nothing happened. This scene created so much suspence! Lucky escape!

3. MICHAEL BREAKS INTO THE BASEMENT; David seems to be the only one that has access to his basement, he knows what is down there can never be seen by anyone else, you can refer to it as his 'hide out' place. Michael plans to break in there as he suspects that strangely enough his fathers phone is down there. He tells his girlfriend Kelly to call him if the house lights go on (as it is night time and everyone in the house is asleep). As he leaves Kelly's car her phone goes off as she has low battery and she struggles to find her phone charger (NOOOO!). Here, suspense is built as we get the idea that Kelly will not be able to call him if the house lights do go on.... Will he get caught?

Michael breaks into the basement, finding anything he can to try and break into the locked up cabinets that was built by David. The scene then cuts into Kellys car.. she finally finds her charger, plugs it into her phone and then immediately calls Michael, when he tries to pick up his phone it smashes on the floor into pieces (as this rate my heart was pounding! Time seems to be running out!!!) Reaslising that she can't get through to him Kelly gets out the car instead but before she reaches.... DAVID sees her and attacks her as he gives her a powerful punch in her face and she falls to the ground! (OUCHHH!) Michael realises what's going on and screams out to her.... this is the scene where Davids true colours are revealed.......


Below is the trailer.... It will give you a thrill!

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