Whilst watching the stepfather I found some rather very interesting examples of the director’s success in building suspense for the audience to be intrigued.
At the begging of the film when we meet the stepfather we find out that he is a murderer as he kills his own family. Therefore when he begins to talk to a new family, this moment in time may be extremely suspenseful since it raises questions, is this family going to let him in? What are his motives? Suspense is also building on the fact that this family may also become victims of a crime depending on weather they allow him to join the family.
At Michael’s welcome back party, David asks Michael to meet him in the basement for a chat; Personally and perhaps the audience instinct automatically told us that this was David’s attempt to murder Michael, this instinct is based on the fact that we the audience have previously seen that David is capable of murder. This builds suspense as the audience are kept wondering why David situated this particular place to meet him as the basement is a very dark and threatening place, this instantly suggests to the audience that something negative is going to happen there.
As Michael is on his way to the basement, opens the door, we hear a slow and relaxed soundtrack as he turns the key to unlock the door (building suspense), he then makes his way down the stair case, we hear sound effects e.g. the floor board creaking (building suspense). The building up of suspense makes the audience feel certain that that it is Michael’s time to die, however this is not the case. The reason for building suspense may have been an attempt by the directors to make the audience feel more involved with the movie.
When Susan mentions to David that the old lady thought he resembled a killer, he was angry and wanted the old lady to face the consequences of opening her mouth. I am given this impression because as soon as there is no one about David’s facial expressions begin to show evilness, through his piercing eyes which are very sinister. At this point the audience are left in suspense as they may be on the edge of their seats to find out what he will do, will he murder the investigator? Or will she live?
The soundtrack played when the old lady is on her way to check on the cat, is full low of cord instruments, this is another factor which builds tension and suspense on what is yet to come. The audience is faced with another false plateau when the cat jumps in front of the camera when on the other hand the audience thought it may have been David behind that door looking to kill the old lady. This 'false plateau' leads the audience into a false sense of security, causing them to think pessimistically, but there is no disruption of equilibrium, nothing negative happens.