Black Widow + The Stepfather
In the begining of The Stepfather, the camera slowly pans to the sharp, shaving objects to put focus on something sharp and dangerous which might be coming up. As it pans slowly, audience gets into the mood of slow and atmospheric opening. In our thriller, everything seems to happen slowly: the wife goes into the kitchen, opens the frigde and so on. As soon as she pours in the rat poison, we decited to have the ECU on the 'harmful' sign, and we did it twice, so the effect of is a 'big bang' and from slow pace, something suddenly happens. This I think creates tension and connotes something bad is happening.
In The Stepfather, we see a MS on the stepfather, and in a way we're introduced to the character as he's almost looking straight at us. We decided to use CU on the wife's eyes, we thought this will make it more dramatic and suspicious, as it won't completly show her face. Eyes can tell a lot about the person, so in our CU it looks like she's expecting something, which again I think creates strong tension. We're introduced to the character and the way they feel.
As we decided to create a psychological (/crime) thriller, we really wanted to show the contrast between normal and unormal. In the Stepfather, the camera turns as the dead boy's body appears to show something's not right, this happends suddely and we don't even expect it. In our thriller, the contrast is where the wife puts the bleach next to the milk. The two objects, similar size, have a completly opposite function. This, we can almost say- a binary opposition creates the contrast we wanted to achieve by normal and unormal. It creates tension, but also is a convensional thing for psychological thrillers.
The stepfather starts with introduction to the location, the camera's tilting on the houses and the tilting stops where the get to the stepfather's house. The location in the kitchen is introduced by long shot on the stepfather and we see the kitchen as part of Mise en Scene. In our thriller, we decided to use POV shot where the wife walks into the kitchen. This gave the feeling that the audience is actually going inside and at the same time the location was introduced.
The titles start to apear when the location is introduced, we decided to do the same; this puts focus on the production company, before the narrative actually starts. So we end up with waiting for the movie, but at the same time we see the location + production, and then the movie starts.
In the Stepfather, the camera slowly pans on the family pictures. This not only tells us more about the house and possibly characters, but shows their relationship. We know who lives in the house (form pictures) and we see something's a bit wrong, we wonder what happened to them? This feeling is really important, it creates suspence. We've given SOME information and wonder. This gets us infolved with the movie. We tried to achieve this, by using ECU on the ring, when the wife is playing with this. It gives us more information- we know both characters are married, and we wonder "why did she pour the poisons to the food?" "why does she try to kill him?" "will he eat this?" and this is SUSPENCE! ...the audience wants to carry on watching the movie to see what happens. (see, you're taken in!)
When the stepfather does everyday things such as washing the dish or making breakfast, simple shots, such as over the shoulder, or mid shot form the side were used to show his actions. We thought it only showed his normal actions, but with something so wrong such as pouring the rat poison to the sugar pot we need to use shot that emphasises how bad and weird this is. We placed the camera to the table, at the level the sugar and the poison is, so it puts all the focus to it and creates tension and mystery, because we're fully focused on what's happening AND we exactly know what the wife is doing.
It's convensional for a good thriller to create suspense. In Alfred Hitchock's words, "suspence is an emptiotional process" and "we can get the suspence element going by giving the audience information". I think that we tried our best to create the suspence and engage the audience in an emotional level. I think we achieved this by the use of match cut, and the last scene where the husband comes home. At this point, our audience should be emotionally involved as they wanna know what will happen to him, why would the wife try to kill him and so on. This is the suspence, as audience is given the information, and they know more than the character.
Here's Hitchock talking about the difference between the mystery and suspence: