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Explain how the director creates tension in the opening of the film "Scream".

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Introduction

Explain how the director creates tension in the opening of the film "Scream" The film directors are in charge of engaging the audience with the motion picture and to do this the viewer must feel tense and curious to what is happening and why. In the film "Scream" the audience feel gripped and anxious for themselves and the characters involved. To start the movie "Scream" the title opening says the word "Scream" and the audience hears screaming and stabbing sounds. This creates tension for the viewer in the sense that these noises may represent future happenings in the film. This gives a mood of tension or foreboding. There is a contrast to this, however, when the camera fades to the opening shot. This focuses on a telephone. The object may suggest to the audience that it should act as a main focus of the opening scenes. The shape of the telephone could symbolise an animal of some kind such as a spider ready to pounce; the pouncing being when it rings. The audience might feel a little confused at this point because generally, telephones are linked with talking to a friend or relative; someone you are happy to speak to and be with and I think the director has used this technique to unsettle the audience. ...read more.

Middle

Following this scene, there is a long shot as the female character enters the living room (still content on the telephone) and the lighting is low-key. In the background there is a bookcase and some lamps, a red carpet and some paintings. These objects create the picture of a typical love story setting or a domestic scene. This is effective here because the surroundings seem so perfect and innocent and yet outside, the weather is windy, it is pitch black and there are many trees and bushes moving and swaying with the wind. The audience will notice the contrast and will wonder which surrounding will take over. For example, the hectic and threatening weather outside might represent the future happenings inside and the director is mixing genres effectively in order to create confusion. Suddenly after the long shot, the director cuts directly to a close up of the woman's face. Her expression changes dramatically from a happy and smiley look to a shocked and terrified look, as the male character declares, "I want to know who I am looking at!" In addition to the new terror of the female character, the director first introduces the music. It is the music anyone would expect in a turning point in a horror film. ...read more.

Conclusion

The female character discovers that her boyfriend is in fact tied up on the garden patio and as she sees him, the murderer on the end of the telephone tells her that she and he ought to play a "little game". The tone of the murderer's voice has now changed from threatening to patronising. The director has planned that well because it makes the audience feel very uncomfortable. The female character reluctantly agrees to play the killer's game and with that, the opening draws to an end. In my opinion, the director has been very clever making the opening of "Scream". He/she has used many different camera techniques such as close-ups, long shots and quick cuts. All of these help to build up the tension for the audience and give the impression that they are actually present while all these horrific events are taking place. The director also uses character speech as a tension builder. For example, the viewer can tell by the way each of the characters are speaking, what will happen next. After watching the beginning of "Scream" I felt that it was very well put together and I felt very tense as it drew to an end and I was very anxious to see what would happen next and finish watching the film. So to conclude, the director has been successful in making the audience feel uncomfortable. ...read more.

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