How does Alfred Hitchcock create suspense in Psycho?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hitchcock is able to create a suspenseful feel to his film in a couple of distinct ways.  The use of cinematic elements at critical moments helps to heighten the suspense of critical scenes.  Consider the use of cinematography, editing, and musical score in the most intense of moments and one sees how the mood of suspense is evident.  When Marion is driving on the highway, fleeing from her actions in the city, the downpour of rain splashing against the windshield, along with the score, and intermittent cut backs to Marion's face trying to make through the rain helps to build the suspense in that moment.  This formula is seen in the murder scenes, as well, where music and camera cuts through editing helps to establish moods and feelings of suspense in these particular scenes.  Hitchcock understood in the most acute of manners that the ability to use cinematic elements all converging at a simultaneous moment allows the suspense of a particular scene emerge and overtake the viewer as they are unable to discern what exactly is causing the suspense, but they know it is there.