- Scary music - The audience feels that something big is going to happen. They just don’t know when, because the music is even and repetitive. Usually when the action starts, the music changes to something much more dramatic.
- Color Effects Color correction can be useful for creating a discomforting feel in a scene. Tinting the image with a “cold” color (blue or green) can give it a “pessimistic” look, especially if the color of skin is also changed. But don’t overdo it or it will become too unrealistic and the audience will detach from the characters.
Also, reducing the contrast of the image (a bit) might have the same effect — the audience will feel uneasy because they will need more time to perceive the image (it is more difficult with low contrast).
- Sensory Deprivation
People are afraid of the dark because they can’t see what’s in it. When you are in a forest at night and you hear the wolves howling, you can’t help but wonder how close they are.
You can ignite the same kind of fear in the audience by carefully placing the camera so that they don’t see what they want to see — or eat least that they can’t see it well.
There are many possibilities: a shadow in the dark, a closed door with strange sounds coming from behind it, a main character’s scared face when we cannot see what he is looking at… The audience has their imagination turned on — and it’s working in your favor.
- The Ignorant HeroWere you ever caught shouting something like that to the movie screen? One of the strongest methods of producing suspense is letting the audience know what kind of danger the main character is cluelessly rushing into. They know what he doesn’t know, but they can’t help him. This makes them feel helpless — another very desired effect.
- The Villain’s Point Of View Even when we see who is watching, it is a hint that the character could be in for a fatal surprise.
This method also achieves the most desirable goal of a suspense-making director: to keep the audiences guessing.