'The poster for "The Stepfather" 2009 and 1987'
The movie used intertextuality and the sense of suspense to create tense scenes. We can see that in a scene where an old lady is killed. The audience knows that something will happen to her because she recognised him as a killer. In a later scene she answers the door and everyone thinks thats the stepfather trying to kill her but there was no one by the door. The background music is still tense making the audience even more tense because now everyone expects him to jump out of nowhere and kill her but that doesn't happen either. To distract the audience, false plateau is created by a louder music and a cat jumping in front of the lady. This makes the audience jump and calms them down a little so that they don't expect anything bad to happen and that's when we can see the killer.
Another intense scene is when a father of the family comes in tells the stepfather that he knows that he was lying about his past. The lack of music/quiet music makes it a tense scene. Also the fact that the killer went to another room and he wasn't seen by the camera makes the scene suspenseful because people fear most of the things that they don't know/see. The camera follows the real father creating an illusion that the whole cinema is also looking for the stepfather. The scene finishes with the father dead.
Lastly a scene with a cliche thunder storm and pouring rain. A character suspecting that there is something wrong with the stepfather is alone in a big house. This already suggest that the killer is going to strike but the use of handheld camera outside, looking inside the house is assuring us that something bad is about to happen.