With the beginning of this film, the sound design works together with the scene transitions to enhance the tone of the film. In the first scene, our main character, Lee, takes a shot in the dark and calls his estranged cousin Sydney for help, starting him out on his journey. The sound of the Niagara is mixed to overpower the dialogue in order to create a sense of anxiety as our character dives into the unknown, this scene is filled with up close and very immediate sounds. The motel exterior scene starts with the transition of the roaring water into distant city traffic. Every sound that plays in this scene is far from the character himself, low and reverberant, isolating him as he dives further into the unknown. This scene ends with the sound effects, music, and background becoming louder and more frequent before our abrupt cut to the next scene. The interior of the motel is completely cut off from the outside world, but this doesn't mean that there was no need for outside sounds. The feeling of isolation is enhanced by the presence of muffled and far outside noises, leaving our character alone with his odd relative.
For this scene, the sound design took an exaggerated approach. Our main character is out of his comfort zone and his trusted "partner" is only making things worse, causing the antagonists to rock their car while they were in it. Rocking a car back and forth in park wouldn't make an intimidating noise, inside or outside the car, but for the purpose of the story and the characters, the sound design's role was to make it scarier than it is. The foundation of the rocking sound itself is a recording of a ship's trawl gear being lowered, muffled and turned up on the low end. This sound, combined with the squeaking suspension, and mixed to fight with the dialogue, creates an exaggerated, yet realistic design for the scene. Even when our main characters are yelling, the sound of the rocking still overpowers them, showing us who has the upper hand in the scene.