How has the director made the opening sequence of "What Lies Beneath" effective?

Essay by A*AsifHigh School, 11th gradeA, December 2006

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Attention-grabbing opening sequences are vital for a director to plot and establish, since the audience or viewer may solely judge the film by how intriguing the opening sequence is or by how much it catches their attention.

The beginning of the opening sequence of What Lies Beneath creates suspense at the very start by introducing a symbolic atmosphere that relates to the film's title (What Lies Beneath). The director sets the scene underwater at the very beginning with words which seem to flicker in the water and then fade. This effective and useful technique grabs the audience's attention by a combination of excitement and trepidation; many audiences may have phobias of being placed underwater so the idea of it is fear-provoking (as is the idea of drowning).

The audience's tension relies on the clever use of the camera. For example, in the scene at the very start where Claire is lying in the bath, the birds eye shot shows her looking very odd (adding an element of surrealism).

In addition, throughout the first ten minutes, every time the main character is on the screen, we see her very close-up, whereas almost all other shots are medium or long. The director may have done this with the shrewd intention to tell the viewer that she is different to other people in the film.

Claire Simpson is visibly introduced to us through a close up of her face. This forces the audience to focus on her face and make us realise she is the main character. The audience is made to focus on Claire's facial expressions, which indicate shock. This unnerves the audience, making them wonder why she is submerged beneath water. The cameras focus changes to a mid angle shot of Claire gasping for breath, and lying in the...