Friday, 21 January 2011

How suspense is created in 'What Lies Beneath'?

Suspense is the growing interest and excitement felt while awaiting a climax or resolution. This is what keeps an audience "at the of their seats" in a thrilller movie. A great example of the use of suspense is in What Lies Beneath, here is how it is done: 

The film first begins with a grey back ground with mist appearing in the foreground. As soon as the fog appears, there is a sense of mystery as if something is coming. As titles (written in a white misty/ghostly font) fade in, shadows arise in the background revealing branches and a man. As the identity of the man is unknown, it makes the viewers feel anxious but draws them in. The shadows disappear along with the titles, which yet again is mysterious. Further into the opening, the title of the film appear as a reflection on water; this creates tension as anything could be beneath the dark water. After the title fades, a pair of dark eyes arise from beneath the water. The eyes look as though they belong to a ghostly figure from the dark skin and wet hair. As the ghostly female figure appeared so sudden, it gives the audience a fright but still drawn to the film as her identity is unknown until she arises...

The figure is revealed to be middle aged woman taking a bath; this is the start of the film. The female character tries to turn on her hair dryer but jumps when it suddenly clicks back on; this suggests she is a vulnerable character which leaves viewers wondering what would happen to her.

The non-diegetic music that accompanies the opening add to the tension, the eerie music begins before the opening with builds up through the titles (crescendo). This creates "nail biting" tension as it seems as though something is coming. The music is the main root of suspense as it gives the audience an uneasy feeling before the opening has begun.

No comments:

Post a Comment