Thursday, 13 January 2011

How is suspence created in 'The Stepfather'(2009)

'The Stepfather' displays many conventions of a typical thriller movie. But also, 'The Stepfather' is also original in the sense that the 'bad guy' is the stepfather, unlike in 'Snow White' and other classics, where the enemy is usually the 'evil' step mum. 

From the start, we see how twisted the stepfather is. What starts off a normal day with the stepfather(Dylan Walsh) preparing for a day, with him brushing his teeth and eating his toast, turns very twisted when we see his murdered family on the floor. This causes suspense and curiosity amongst the audience, and has a very strong effect on the audience because of the unexpected outcome. During the whole beginning scene, there was sincere music playing which contrasted the incident and made it even more twisted.

This suspense carries on throughout, where we learn he moves in with a new family. Everything turns out peaceful and normal until an old lady from across the street implies that the stepfather committed a murder after being seen in America's Most Wanted. As a common convention, we all expect the old lady to be his next victim, and does become his victim. In the run up to her death, a 'false plateau' was created when there was a 'doorbell' scene where no one was there. The old lady then found her cat in distress inside a closet, and having pulled the distressed cat away, she shuts the typical cliche mirror cupboard door shut and we see the stepfather appear out of no where. Although very expected, the scene was still intense and shocking.

Thunderstorms and rain add to the effect of the last scenes. The family find out his true identity and there is a chase between the family and the stepfather, and in the stepfather's last scene, the son(Penn Badgley) has a tussle together on the roof, and in the most obvious scene, the stepfather was thrown over, but this was just part of the 'false plateau' and after expecting he was dead and thrown down, he climbs back up with his hand striking up first to shock the audience, and pulls the son down with him.

In general, I feel 'The Stepfather' was a good film and created a lot of suspense and was also very original, and had a good closing scene where we see the Stepfather in the shop 'luring' in another lady to dinner like he ruled the one in the family.

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