One of the hallmarks of any great film is suspense, whether the viewer is aware of it or not. If it weren’t for this magical ingredient, there’d be no reason to continue watching.
You see, what’s the point of watching a movie if you know what happens before it does? If you’ve seen the film many times, that’d be acceptable. Not on the first viewing tough. That one must be authentic and special to us.
Without suspense in the film industry model, it’d surely go bankrupt.
Think about any of the films that we hold dear to our hearts. Even if you’re the only fan, it’s the suspense of the unknown that keeps the viewer engaged. There’s simply no substitute for the feeling of not knowing.
Suspense in and of itself, isn’t a genre, or even a sub-genre. It’s the product of a vision and attention to the little details. Any great screenwriter will know that keeping the audience in suspense is mandatory.
Suspense could be synonymous with the word entertaining in the film industry. The most engaging and entertaining films to date have been filled with deliberate points of this.
Sometimes this can be the feeling of dread or a building of curiosity. Either way, you, the viewer, are fully engaged and along for the ride. That most memorable character reveal, the time you were hit with an amazing plot twist, or you were simply on the edge of your seat with your hands on your face.
These are the moments that we, as movie-goers, pay the price of admission to see.
There’s simply no substitute for gripping your audience than suspense. It doesn’t matter the genre. Without it, there’s no film worth watching. Period.