The dark side of light – Someone’s lurking
Wolves come out at night. The audience is scrutinizing the shade to find evidence of a danger before it’s too late. When light is low, it’s time to worry.
Extreme low-key scenes increase insecurity by wrapping potentially dangerous characters in a veil of shade.
In West Side Story (J. Robbins & R. Wise, 1961), this character wants to meet up with his friends after a tragic street fight has degenerated. His dark figure looks suspicious in the shade.
In Thelma and Louise (R. Scott, 1991), J.D. is taking advantage of gullible Thelma and things are taking a turn for the worse.
Here’s a killer who has broken into his victim’s flat and is silently heading towards her bedroom in Someone to Watch Over Me (R.Scott, 1987).
Low-key scenes raise the audience’s feeling of insecurity. A dark figure on a dark background is all it takes to pass any character off as an evil-minded persona and freak the audience out.