Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Definition of suspense

Suspense is a feeling of uncertainty and anxiety about the outcome of certain actions, most often referring to an audience's perceptions in a dramatic work. Suspense is not exclusive to fiction, though. Suspense may operate in any situation where there is a lead up to a big event or dramatic moment, with tension being a primary emotion felt as part of the situation. In the kind of suspense described by film director Alfred Hitchcock, an audience experiences suspense when they expect something bad to happen and have (or believe they have) a superior perspective on events in the drama's hierarchy of knowledge, yet they are powerless to intervene to prevent it from happening. In broader definitions of suspense, this emotion arises when someone is aware of his lack of knowledge about the development of a meaningful event; thus, suspense is a combination of anticipation and uncertainty dealing with the obscurity of the future. In terms of narrative expectations, it may be contrasted with mystery or curiosity and surprise. Suspense could however be some small event in a person's life, such as a child anticipating an answer to a request they've made, e.g., "May I get the kitty?". Therefore, suspense comes in many different sizes, big and small.

How Jaws creates suspense:

With suspense being one of our main themes we looked a few clips in which suspense was created. We looked at the famous scene from 'Jaws' and the not so famous from 'Killers'. We decided to focus more on the well known film of 'Jaws'.

The clip starts off very calm and the scene is very happy and nostalgic. You can see the children playing in the water and precisely because there are children playing you don't think any thing bad will happen. It is when the cross cutting from underneath the water, and above the water begins,  that you can see something isn't quite right. As the camera bobs above and under the water  the sound comes and goes just like as if you were under water. When the mayor talks to the television cameras, even tough he tries to make everything seem fine when really it isn't. Straight after, the shot of the water from the boat looking upon the shore makes it seem like the coast is clear but still the viewer feels like something is wrong. when we finally see the shark we expect the shark to instantly attack but it drags on therefore creating suspense and tension. After all the build up we finally see that it was all a false alarm, so the viewer doesn't think that anything else will happen. Then the girl starts to cry out but you just think that she is part of the hoax until the scary, intense and very famous Jaws tune comes on so then you definitely know something is wrong. Unlike before, this time the shark scare is accompanied by intense orchestral music to build up tension for the final attack. 

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