The scene opens on an establishing shot of a street in middle class suburbia. This is apparent because of the trees lining the street, typical of well to do, middle-class neighbourhoods. The sound of birds chirping creates a tranquil tone, while also building suspense, based on the assumption that this is a horror movie. It appears to be twilight, setting the stage for the following few scenes, but also enabling a a kind of awkward starting point, being not quite day and not quite night, the audience is placed in a space and time which they do not immediately comprehend.
A slow pan reveals houses, until it rests on a red house, given prominence by the light on at the front porch, as well as the sub tone sound occurring at the same time the character opens the from door.
The character opens the door and runs to the middle of the street as the camera continues to pan. The deep tones continue, building the suspense. The character looks like she’s dressed for a night out, wearing high heels, the high heels serve as a tip of the hat to silly horror movies in which the characters do things that doesn’t necessarily make much practical sense. The high heels also serve as an audio cue. The fast pace as she runs, and the slow pace as she walks creates an interesting dynamic with pacing, and, given that there is very little dialogue, it keeps the audience engaged. Similarly, her heavy breathing implies that she is afraid of something; emphasis on “something” given the fact that we don’t know what she is running from.
It rests, on a long shot of the girl, centre screen, walking backwards. The camera tracks forward slowly, much like how the “monster” walks slowly toward it’s victims. Two characters, a neighbour and the girls father, talk to the girl from off-screen (the woman who talks is on screen but you can’t see her face). Given that they are not shown, it shows her isolation and the fact that she is focused on whatever it is that is scaring her. The dialogue, “are you ok? do you need some help” and “what are you doing?” make it sound as though there is nothing following that character, and that she is alone, aside from the other characters who speak.
The synth music kicks in when she starts running. Once again the camera pans to the right and follows her up then across the street back inside her house. The camera rests on the house for a few moments, which again creates tension. The audience would almost expect a cut to occur, until she runs back outside of the house. The music is the only thing driving the action at this point, keeping a steady but relatively fast tempo which continues to heighten the suspense.
As soon as she runs out the front door towards the car, the music builds again, with synthetic string sounds reminiscent of Hitchcock’s Psycho, another tribute to classic horror. Now the camera pans to the left, most likely just to follow the action, however it does make for an interesting change, altering the pacing and our expectation from what has been presented to us.
I generally struggle with criticising scenes or thinking about how I would do it different. I suppose this is because, in my short history in scene analysis, I generally analyse scenes which I enjoy. The same stands for this, it’s style is consistent throughout so changing this changes the flow of the movie. Regardless, as an individual scene, it would be interesting to begin with the same shot, instead of panning, just jump cut to the house, then cut to inside the house with the girl running out, followed by her father. Then reverting back to the road, keep the pan and the tracking backwards, as it implies that she is being watched by something.