Thriller Genre Research
A thriller film is a genre that usually works on the basis on anticipation and suspense. Thrillers keep the audience on the edge of their seat because of the suspense they get from watching it. In these films, usually the protagonist is set a task or has a problem that they need to solve. Thrillers are usually defined by the moods they want to show, giving viewers some feelings of suspense, excitement, surprise and anticipation of whats going to happen next.
Key codes and conventions of a thriller:
Props: Consist of weapons such as guns, knifes and explosives. Knifes are usually used in most thriller films. These all add tension to the film. The shiny knife, the white shower curtain, the dripping bathroom/kitchen tap and blood (fake blood) all are usual props you may see in a thriller film.
Smaller props like ID badges of police officers or a detective are commonly seen. Props help to build up tension and suspense as the realism of the prop works alongside the camera work and editing techniques to intrigue the audience.
Characters: Convicts, criminals, stalkers, assassins, innocent victims, cops or police and terrorists. These are usually seen is a physiological thriller.
Convicts can be used to good effect as the audience know that they are likely to be very involved in key events in the film.
Stalkers are involved so the audience knows someone is stalking someone making them think that something bad might happen because of it.
Innocent victims make the audience feel sad because of them being killed. Most of the time it makes them hate the villain more and they expect some revenge will take place later on in the film.
Terrorists are quite common in many modern day films. The audience knows that something really bad will happen and that the protagonist/s will have to do something about it. There will only be terrorists depending on what a film is based around. Usually its heroes and villains.
Settings: Thrillers take place mostly in ordinary suburbs and cities, although sometimes they may take place wholly or partly in exotic settings such as foreign cities, desserts, polar regions, or the high seas.
Often the heroes will fight against the villain- can have a ticking clock to show that time is running out for example.
Narratives: Thriller’s narrative have often a complex structure, they like to keep the audience guessing on what will happen next and it has twist and turns. A lot of thrillers have a restricted narrative, questions and or riddles will be left unanswered until towards the end of the film. This is good because it really hooks the audience in right from the start, and it will give them clues to what might happen. Usually people feel good about themselves if they guess what will happen next correctly.
Camera Techniques: Birds eye view- looking down from high up from above to make the person below seem powerless or vulnerable.
Close up- shows the reaction of the actor’s face meaning you can tell how their feeling. Can be intimidating.
Tilt angle shots- this can add dramatic tension. It can also be used when shooting a point of view shot to imply that the actor is looking differently or is lead down at an angle.
Extreme long shot- can put in perspective how deserted an area is or an overall view of something.
Low angle- can make the villain look much bigger meaning it shows they have power. Also, it can make the audience and actors feel like they are insignificant.
Hand held camera shot- makes the audience feel like they are there and that its more realistic because it makes them feel like they are involved. However, it can be quite shaky so it isn’t used very often because it doesn’t look very professional.
Point of view and over the shoulder- makes the audience see what the actor can see and makes them feel like they are there.
Editing technique’s: Most commonly in a thriller would be a jump shot. This adds suspense and makes the audience react to it. It also makes the audience know something is going to happen.
Sound- background can be key in a thriller because it can create a certain atmosphere. Lots of noise will make the audience feel like many things are happening or will happen and silence will add suspicion.
Actors positioning or movement- standing in a certain place can make the actor seem more important or less important E.g. an introduction of a scene a new character would usually be positioned in the middle of the shot.
The Unknown is an example of a thriller film made by Liam Neeson made in 2011 in the United Kingdom. He has also done films such as Taken 1,2 and 3.
Messages: Horror and Thriller Movies are usually not meant for giving messages they’re just created to scare us and to create tension, to move that inner part of us that get us frightened about sounds and actions of the characters. However, many people say the thriller films that have a message are usually better to watch. This is because there is actually a key message, and it’s not the same sort of thriller just trying to scare you as much as they can. A good example that has a message would be the film Saw.
10 key thrillers made in the last 5 years:
- The dark Knight Rises (2012)
- The girl with the dragon tattoo (2011)
- Gravity (2013)
- Now you see me (2013)
- Gone Girl (2014)
- Captain Phillips (2013)
- Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
- Mission impossible (2015)
- Taken series
- Kingsman: The secret service (2014)
Three iconic thriller actors:
- Vin Diesel- Fast and Furious.
- George Clooney- Ocean’s Eleven
- Laurie Holden- The Walking Dead
Three iconic thriller directors or producers:
- Alfred Hitchcock. He was born in Essex, England. He is known for being the director of the film Physco in 1960.
- Andy Armstrong. He began his film career in 1972 in England and France. He is well known for The Amazing Spider Man (2012) and the Amazing Spider Man 2 (2014)
- Walter Hill. He was born in California on the 10th January, 1942. He is well known for the creation of the films Alien 1,2 and 3. A new Alien film is being released in 2017 with Walter Hill as the director.
Why do thrillers seem to appeal to audiences?
I feel that the main reason why people are wanting to watch thrillers is because it makes them feel like they are involved in the film. This is because of the suspense and suspicion you get from watching them. In addition to this, the thrill the audience gets from watching the film keeps them hooked and wanting to watch more. This is one reason why directors keep producing second and third films and re-make them as they know the audience will keep watching them. A really good example of this is the Fast and Furious films, as there are seven of them and people continue to watch them.
Secondly, one reason why people watch thrillers is that they usually have well-known actors that everyone loves to watch. Some people will have favourite actors, and if they are in a thriller film, they will go and watch it because of this. Even if the film doesn’t appeal loads to them, they will still go and watch it. In addition to this, many thriller films are just exiting to watch and their target audience can appeal to most film lovers.
Lastly, with new technology recently that continues to develop, special effects can make a thriller film look very good. If special effects are added to trailers, then the trailers will look fantastic and will appeal to many people. Even if the trailer was the best two minutes of the film, they will still go and watch it. This is a bonus to the producers. Overall, I feel that thrillers are one of the main themes that people know they will enjoy as they have been around for a long time and usually they live up to expectations. There are also many thrillers made every year, meaning there is a wide variety of films to choose from.
This is the trailer of the first insidious when it came out in 2010.
The genre ‘Thriller’ is very vague because there are many different types of thriller genres that are all slightly different from each-other.
An Action Thriller uses action to create suspense within the film. Like a traditional Action film, this sub-genre will often have action including physical stunts, chases, fights, battles, and races. Often, these scenes will contribute to the overall sense of danger that the protagonist is facing. This is a very common thriller and personally is my favourite.
Crime Thriller film is a sub-genre that uses suspenseful aspects of a thriller with a crime film plot. This sub-genre’s plot usually centers on a serial killer, murderer, robbery, or manhunt.
In addition to the traits of a regular Thriller, a Psychological Thriller has parts of a drama and mystery film. The suspense in this sub-genre comes from the mind, rather than from a psychical threat.
Ronin Opening scene analysis
Ronin sets the scene as soon as the music in the opening starts. The sounds are like metal instruments and symbols. The metal signifies that this person or group has many weapons such as swords and knifes. This makes us think about where the film could be set and from this we get ideas that the film will be in an Asian country or around that part of the world. This is in complete contrast as when the film starts we are in Paris which changes our views from what we were to expect. Over the top of this sound, we have two swords scraping against each other, like samurai swords. This gives the feeling that it is a group of people that have now come together. After these sounds and effects, there is the noise of loud drums, completely changing the sound from metals and symbols. The sound of the drums gives a sense of battle which is traditional for a tribal group, so this again makes us feel like we are in an Asian country or setting and defiantly not in Europe. However, we find out that the film is actually in France and is not what the audience would’ve expected. Once these sounds have carried on for quite a few seconds it slowly climax’s to just one sound, suggesting that it could be a large group of people and that they will not be taken down easily. This one sound is a constant humming noise, again making us feel like it’s a group of samurai. In addition to this, the humming seems like a sort of prayer they are making, again making us feel like we are not based in Europe and keeps us predicting what sort of setting and film we are going to get.
Once all the noises have started to fade out, we get the first look at text on the black background. The font of the writing looks like it has been written with a paintbrush. This shows that it is very creative and has been painted or scribed in, like scribing words into a tree. The way the writing is written signifies that whoever wrote it has a very good set of skills, and is a well experienced person or group. With the red font written over a black background, it shows their world is a very dark place. With the background going from white to black, it could imply that there are protagonists and antagonists that are both against each other in the film even before it starts. The colour red connotes blood and passion, and black connotes things being dark and the idea of death. On top of this the music is then amplified, making it seem the audience should worship them.
When the film starts, we immediately have an establishing shot showing that they are in Paris and is setting the scene right from the start. This shows that the film will be of contrast and challenge, because the opening made us think that it definitely wouldn’t be based in a European country, and now were in Paris. In addition to this, Paris is normally seen as a place of love, which is different to the idea of battle we got from the opening sounds and text. Straight after this, we have a panning shot where we are looking across the city. This suggests that we should be looking for something or someone. This is done deliberately as the camera stops moving when we see a figure and makes us watch him (De Nero). This makes us feel like he is very important, but do not know whether he is a protagonist or antagonist yet. This keeps us thinking and paying close attention to him. It could also mean he is the key actor in the film and is most important.
Once we’ve been introduced to him from a distance, the high angle shot is looking down on him showing that he is not as powerful as us, and this does not fit with someone with a protagonist role. If he was a protagonist, we would expect to be looking up to him, so immediately we start thinking that he’s the antagonist without getting to see him.
So far, we know that the setting is based in Paris, a place thought of as a romantic place and a holiday destination. We also believe that there’s an antagonist from the start and that they will be a key focus in the film. However, the camera angle suddenly cuts to a mid-shot of De Nero. This then makes us have the same level of power as him, and that he may not be bad after all. We also get the first appearance of seeing him up close. He was wearing a beige coat, dark hat and he shadowed his face to suggest to us that he’s a mysterious character. He’s also wearing a tie, that suggests to us that he’s on the job and here to do business. After we’ve seen him, we cut to a low angle shot, making him more powerful than us and thinking that he might be a protagonist here to help and sort out some “business” that has been planned. The cut makes us know that he is important and that he is the man to focus on. However, when he moves out of centre frame it suggests that he is not important anymore or that he isn’t a danger to anyone. Centre frame usually makes us show that the person’s stature and presence is one to be noticed. While this is happening, the sound effects are just the natural wind in the background, which doesn’t suggest anything suspicious and that he’s a protagonist as he doesn’t cause danger when he’s around. Usually we would think that if something bad was to happen, we would have deep fast paced sound in the background, whereas here we have natural sounds to show now danger is around yet.
It is at this point we hear the sound of car, as he looks up, establishing that that is his focus as well as his eyes being less shadowed, suggesting that he has seen what he needs to see. It then cuts to the vehicle and it is a black van with the black door in centre frame with a woman inside, suggesting that the person or people in the van are of importance. The cut is used for effect to show the importance of the van and that it is something involved with De Niro. The colour of black is starting to increase slightly, suggesting that there is evil lurking or someone in the car is an antagonist. The camera then cuts back to an over the shoulder shot of the man, looking at the vehicle and we can establish the distance away from the car that he is at. It also gives the impression that we are there with him, and that he is almost controlling the camera which brings a sense of narration into his role, as we are relying on him at this point to give us answers for the car and what his job is. Also in this shot, we notice that there are railings separating the man from whoever is in the car, a sense of safety for this man is established, or perhaps safety for this woman. This keeps us very undecided on if the man is a protagonist or an antagonist. The barriers add to the confusion of who is bad and who is good, even before we have properly seen the woman in the car.
After this when the woman gets out of the car, she seems very calm which makes the audience feel like she may not be that important, but also could imply that she’s on the job and is acting like a professional. A tracking shot is used to do this to make us feel like we are following her. This then links to the idea of De Niro and the woman working together or he is there to follow her and potentially want to kill her. Because the woman has made an appearance we can now judge her not only on the way she acts and looks but also by the way she is dressed. She is wearing a long black coat which adds to the almost exaggerated use of the colour black. The connotations of black are not very pleasant with the idea of death, funerals and evil. This makes people now think that she is the antagonist, and De Niro is the protagonist trying to help by killing her. Suddenly there’s a cut back to De Niro showing him from a low angle shot. This makes him seem like he has more power, but also he was stood in the darkness with the stairs acting like a barrier so nobody and reach him and know that he’s there. It could also be to protect others from him. Just from this opening of seeing both him and the woman it gives us mixed ideas on which one is a protagonist, or even if both of them could be protagonists or antagonists.
As the woman walks towards the entrance to the bar, tracking with a point of view shot is used to make us feel like we are De Niro and he is following her. From the tracking shot it makes us have full attention on her and keeps us thinking that something bad is going to happen. We know she’s being watched, but she doesn’t, so this is called an unrestricted shot. As the woman walks into the bar we continue to track her with an over the shoulder shot, or could still be him following close behind. We POV shot is used to make the audience feel like they are there and that they are involved. As she walks into the bar, we follow her in and have a medium long shot of her with everyone else in the bar in the background. Currently she is centre frame, making us feel she is most important and here for a reason. Then there are many cut shots of close ups of people in the bar. This allows us to decide on what the people are like in the bar and makes us feel like they could be involved in something with her. We have a point of view shot from the perspective of the woman looking at the dodgy smoking guy, and that makes us feel suspicious or as if he has something to do with her. Maybe they work together or she is out to kill him?
Before De Niro walks into the bar, he places his gun next to the back door. The shot used is an extreme close up, to show the danger he could cause and makes the audience feel like he could be planning an attack as the antagonist. He puts the gun there for protection incase anything goes wrong, which allows the audience to know what sort of man he is. Clearly he has had past experience with using guns, so we know he’s a skilled man that will always cover his tracks. We also know that the bar could be full of danger, and that De Niro is here for a purpose which is to see the woman. While De Niro is in the bar we get a mid-shot as the Woman takes her black coat of. This makes us feel like she is of no danger as the dark has left her, and now we see her as an innocent woman.
Taken Opening Scene Analysis.
We have a close up shot of Liam Neeson in his apartment which shows immediately his emotions towards what’s happening but also how strong he acts while he knows his daughter is in danger. We have the slow music in the background that builds up faster and faster as the antagonists get closer to taking his daughter. This is significant as it could show that danger is being increased as the time passes. We have an extreme close up of the daughter as we first see her under the bed, making us feel like she is hiding from someone or something. This also places the audience there with her and wanting to help. The effect of the extreme close up is that the girl is closed away under the bed with little room to move. It also places us in the same position as her showing how claustrophobic it is and shows her vulnerability. The hard cut is very quick, immediately making us know that she is centre of attention and the one that is in danger. While this is happening, the high pitch sound is gradually getting faster, making us feel like the girl is running out of time and then suddenly a loud drum beat is heard as the girl starts crying. In our physical realm we use the beat of the Drum to dictate the tempo of music. It is also used to show the idea of marching bands, and armies. It also represents the beating of the heart and pulse in all living creatures. This means that he antagonists could be a large group that will be hard to defeat. This is so then we know the girl is the one in danger and we empathise towards her. The fact that she is under the bed makes it seem claustrophobic as the camera is so close to her and we usually like our own space to be in. However, the extreme close up makes us think someone is watching her closely, and that we are there with her but cannot help.
While we have the extreme close up of the girl, the background around her is completely black. Usually the connotations of black are very negative, such as death and mystery. Black is a mysterious color associated with fear and the unknown and shows that both the girl and the audience don’t know exactly what is going to happen. While she’s under the bed, it is taken from a slightly lower angle making the girl still have some power. Even though shes very confined under the bed, the fact that she still has the phone talking to her dad shows she still has some power. However, once she’s dropped the phone, all her power is lost because the last bit of power she had was contact with her dad. We then have many cuts between both Liam and his daughter to show the conversation and facial expressions of them. The medium close up of him is used to make it feel like he’s talking to the audience and like we are there with him. The effect of this is that it makes the audience feel involved and in the situation with them. For example, the character turns his head around the room repetitively whilst talking to his daughter on the phone; this shows that the character is apprehensive and rather confused about how to help his daughter.
We see the antagonists walking into the bedroom from a POV shot of the girl from under the bed. We see this from the girl’s perspective to show how little power she has, and it keeps hidden the identity of the antagonists. It also shows how alone she is because she’s the only one in the bedroom with no one there to help. This is to make us feel like we are there with her and knows how she is feeling. All we can see from this shot is the antagonist’s lower legs, hiding their identity. The antagonists are wearing black trousers with black shoes, which are associated with a funeral or certain occasion. This suggests that there is going to be death In the film because the antagonists are dressed like they are attending a funeral. While this is happening, every time Liam speaks the sounds stop, but when the girl speaks the sound continues discreetly over the top. This shows what Liam is saying is extremely important and that the danger is in the room with the girl. This shot also highlights for the audience how the character moves with purpose and in a dominant manor. This makes the audience feel negative emotions towards the man and also fear for the girl. This shot also give the character more involvement in the scene whist keeping their identity hidden from the audience.
As the antagonists are in the room and we have many cut shots between Liam and his daughter. This shows how little time they now have left because of the presence of the antagonists and that time has almost run out. The antagonists are talking to each other in a foreign language. This is to keep the secrecy and identity of the antagonists hidden, and make us guess what country they are originally from. It also shows that they are very skilled as they know more than one language when Liam is talking to an antagonist over the phone. As we have a medium close up of Liam Neeson we can tell he is listening to their conversation as if he understands what they are saying. This makes us also know that he is a very skilled man because of knowing different languages and telling his daughter what to do so calmly. The cut shots between both him and his daughter is used so then we can feel like we are listening like a third person on the telephone, and makes us feel like we are there and involved with trying to help the girl.
We have a POV shot from the girl when the antagonists start walking away, which makes us feel a sense of relief which the girl would too as they appear to have left. This calms us down and makes us think that she is now safe, however she suddenly gets pulled out from under the bed. We see this from a POV shot of where she was laying, making us feel like we are there with her. This was totally unexpected and makes the audience jump as nobody thought it would happen. The jump scare is used as a common way to get the audiences heart racing, and really be hooked into the film from now on as their expecting other jump scares to happen. It brings us a sense of panic for her as she is getting pulled from under the bed by her legs because we know that she is in pain and is pulled away against her own will. It then cuts to Liam Neeson listening to his daughter screaming. It slowly zooms into his face to show the emotion and how stressful and emotional he is feeling, making us feel sympathy towards both him and his daughter. As the girl is screaming and getting taken away, the sound slowly starts to fade as she’s being dragged away. This is used for effect because as she’s getting further away, it’s as if he life and coming closer to an end and she is slowly losing everything. As this is happening, we are still focused on Liam’s face in a close up shot, and he seems not to be very effected by it which is not what we would expect. Usually if a father’s daughter is in pain or danger, they would be very upset, however his emotions stay very similar throughout the scene. Suddenly, we hear deep breathing down the speaker to show that it was a struggle to pull the girl away showing she is tough to get, and we have a motivated close up of the speaker on the floor to have full focus on whats going to be said.
As Liam is taking to the antagonist on the phone, we have a tilt shot as he is standing up talking to them. This shows that he has a high amount of power as he keeps getting taller, and the shot makes us seem like he’s looking down on us. It shows he has more power than the antagonist on the phone. This implies that nobody has more power than him and makes the audience feel quite intimidated at the same time as knowing he’s going to save his daughter. When Liam says “and I will kill you” it makes the audience know that the rest of the film will be him trying to save his daughter, and that he is a true protagonist. We know this because he has said how he is going to kill the person who took his daughter and save her from the danger she has been put in. We keep focusing with a close up of Liam’s face once he’s stopped talking. The pause is used to keep the audience on edge to wonder if there will be a reply from the antagonist. The antagonist then says “good luck”. This shows that the antagonist is going to be difficult to get and that it is going to be a hard task to get his daughter back This is unexpected as they had been talking in foreign languages beforehand, showing that the antagonist is very skilled and will be hard to find and defeat.
Inception Opening Scene Analysis
The opening to inception was done to make the audience think and guess what’s happening straight from the beginning. There are certain things filmed to make the audience not understand what’s happening but then it becomes a lot clearer as the movie goes on. At the start before we are first seeing any action with characters, quite intense and dark, sinister music is playing to build up tension and keep the audience thinking what sort of movie it is going to be before the scene is set and we are introduced to any characters. The colour of the background is white and black. Because the film is supposed to be set in a dream, this may link to the fact that when we dream it’s never a clear picture or in as much detail that we can remember. The colours may be used to show that the next part of the movie is a dream, and not going to actually happen.
We first have a view of the waves and the coastline, filmed using an establishing shot. The blue waves and sky makes it a complete contrast to the black and white background at the start as the connotations of blue are the sky, confidence and heaven. However, the idea of heaven links as it is to do with the idea of being in a dream. The we see somebody being washed up onto the shore. When they get washed up, they seem like they have no idea where they are or what has happened, almost as if his memory has been lost. As the audience, we start to think that this person will be the main actor in the film as he is first introduced and will be of importance as he is centre frame. This makes the audience have a lot of focus on him now and for the rest of the film. We also wonder how he is still alive after being washed up, and why he was out at sea in the first place. In addition to this, being washed up at sore is usually things that are dead, so the fact that he is alive is very confusing. During this we hear the sounds of children on the beach and having fun. This is a very positive connotation as children are full of life and having fun. A close up is used to show that he is looking over to see what is happening, and we do see children running around on the beach. As the film is based on the idea of a dream, so far the audience have no idea as everything seems normal. However, the children suddenly disappear which could mean that it is all in his imagination and that he is still dazed and confused after being washed up on the beach. The close up of him makes us see his facial expressions, and he seems very confused and unaware of everything surrounding him.
A man walks over to the guy as a new actor and is carrying a gun. We immediately see this guy as the antagonist as guns link with shootings and death. His is shown at a low angle to show how little power the protagonist has, and that the guy with the gun has a high amount of power. However as we think something bad is going to happen to the protagonist, his coat is then lifted up and it reveals a gun that was hidden in his trouser pocket. This shows that the guy washed up on the beach may not be as innocent as we thought he was. We see the gun from a POV shot of the army like man looking down and taking away the gun. This high angle view shows that he has more power as he taller and now has a weapon and the other guy does not. This is because he is then powerless as his gun has been taken from him and there is somebody else who has control over him. We then cut to a low angle shot looking upwards towards the building on the top of the hill. The building makes the audience start guessing where this beach could be. This extreme wide shot is also an establishing shot which gives the audience a better insight into where the scene has been set. The scene automatically changes as there is now low key lighting and there is a man, shown to be superior as he has men in suits as guards protecting him. We automatically presume that this is the interior of the villain’s base as it is very traditional and Chinese looking.
The dark lighting around the door frame suggest the unknown which foreshadows the unknown dreams that the protagonist will see and the events that will occur during the film. The building has a Chinese interior and we get to meet other people inside the building. It is an old Chinese man and we assume this to be the antagonist as the protagonist has been taken to see him. This means that the audience know the bold man has the most power out of everyone because he’s placed centre of the table dressed smartly in a suit. The gun that was being used by the protagonist is then placed on the table that is centre of the building. The gun also gets placed in the centre, showing the significance of how powerful guns are and that one shot can take somebody’s life away. We then have an extreme close up of the spinning top on the table, we know that it is of importance as it is focused on so highly and the Chinese man is talking about it. As the spinning top is spinning on the table it could be the idea of time, and as it starts to slow down, time is being lost. It also makes the audience expect to see it again further through the film as it is focused on specifically on its own.
We have close up of Leonardo DiCaprio when he is brought in and sat down to eat. He is clearly not well and in distress which makes the audience feel like he isn’t going to be treated well. The close up is used to show the expression of his face, but also the soup that he is eating. The soup looks unattractive and that he is being fed the bare minimum. This implies that he is of no importance to the others in the building and is of little importance. Then we suddenly cut to the future but in the same building. DiCaprio is dressed in a suit along with two other men.
Enemy of The State analysis
The Font in the opening is all in capital letters and stand out, meaning that the film could be about presence and power. In addition to this, the text looks like it is in foreign letters, making it seem like Latin or Greek writing. This gives us the idea of the setting and that we are in an international country. While we see these titles music is played. The music is an orchestra with the sounds of violins playing at a slow pace and low tone. The fact that it is slow suggests it is like a mourning and links with the idea of death. A heartbeat is heard over the top of this, which shows life but it’s also repeated later on in the film when the man is in danger and gets stabbed in the neck with the needle. When we first see the setting, the area looks cold and quiet. This suggests that it the start of the day, but could be the end of life.
The first shot we see is the man with his dog getting out of his old, black car. This reminds us of a president’s car or someone with high authority. There are the sound of letters appearing on the screen, like its being typed or on a video game. In addition, it could be the secret service watching the men and typing down where and what they are doing. The colour black is usually seen at funerals and linked with the idea with death. The man is also wearing a black suit, like he was attending a funeral. When the other car is shown, there is a close up shot of a man sat in his car. The window is used as a barrier to stop anything from getting to him. This suggests that he has high power, or is dangerous and people have to be protected from him. His hair is slicked back, suggesting a very formal, professional character. Also, the car window obscures half of his face, making his character more mysterious.
There is a mid-shot of the man wearing a red scarf, not centre framing suggesting that he is of little importance. However, he is the one that injects the needle into the man. The fact that he’s wearing a red scarf links to the idea of blood and death, and that he is the antagonist of the film. When the two men are walking towards the bench, there is a shot where the trees are separating them in a two shot. This suggests that they are both on different sides, and are not so friendly with each other. There is another establishing shot of both characters stood at the lake front, and there is a conversation between both characters. The lighting in this scene is high in contrast, the lighting is high key, but the shadows on the character’s faces are very dark. The lake in the background can be linked with the idea of a place where it is easy for convicts to hide evidence. This foreshadows when his body and car get pushed into the lake once being killed, to hide what has happened to them.
There is a series of matched cuts between the two men while they are walking and when they are sat down on the bench. This is used to make the conversation to seem realistic and keep the flow of the talking at a good pace. As the man in the suit grabs the other man’s arm, the heartbeat sound comes back, implying danger and something bad is going to happen. It could also signal the end of the man’s life as he is going to be killed. A motivated cut is used when grabbing the man’s arm. At this time, he is slightly centre frame, leading to confusion as to who is the one with more power.
The volume of voice and tone is the same throughout, almost as if it is being recorded from someone, and the triangle/bell noise comes in to show realisation that something bad is going to happen when they are both walking back towards their cars. Then we focus more on guy in black with the red scarf, showing more power as we focus on him and he slowly approaches the man with his dog. As he gets stabbed in the neck with a needle, there are multiple reaction shots. This shows the fast pace, urgency and panic of what the man is feeling and the audience feel sympathy for him and towards the dog. It is another establishing shot when the man is thrown into the car and the handbrake has been taken off. The sound kept increasing until his death, but now is slow and with a low tone so show the end of life. Then the tracking shot of car rolling back into the river shows life has now drifted away, and the dog has been left without an owner. This makes the audience wonder why he was killed in the first place, and it adds suspense for the rest of the film because the audience know that killings are involved.
Media Main task- My Thriller
Close up of man’s hands, and sat in the corner of the room, with shadow of the guy closing the door and locking it. Man walking up towards the grave where his family were killed in a car accident. Different flashbacks to thoughts such as a blackout to a 999 call, a car speeding past, and kids talking in the background.Close ups of steering wheel swerving- editing used for sound. The fact that the antagonist is actually in te graveyard for his family’s death, the audience feel sympathy towards him without knowing that he’s the man holding the other man captive.
The main idea that I have for my thriller will be a torture scene where somebody is held captive in a dark, cold and abandoned building. There will be a light flickering to show that energy is lost. This person will be tied up to a chair by their arms and legs, making them struggle massively to do anything and feel immense pain. The opening will start with the Titles and after will be looking around the area that the person is held. Then I will purely focus on the character’s emotions and feelings for the first two reasons, while dropping hints at why the person is there allowing the audience to be confused and try and guess what has happened.
I will make it look like the person has been hit and burnt already using fake blood and face paint to show scars and burnt marks, as well as cuts and bruises. I will do a POV shot from the person’s perspective, making the audience feel like we are them and are involved. The person will scream for help but nobody is around to help them, so they try and figure out ways to get themselves of the chair.
As the person starts running out of ideas, time is running out, their losing more blood and they are slowing passing away. I will use sound effects to show time is running out, and a slowing heartbeat to replicate their heart.
At the end of the opening, there will be a shot of a supercar pulling up outside the building. This makes the audience wait in suspense as they believe it is the antagonist. A man in a suit steps out of the car, but we only see him from the chest down. This leaves the audience wanting to know who it is and what the man is going to do to the person held in the abandoned building. The man will be wearing white latex gloves to make it seem like he’s come to finish the job.
Narrative: After the opening scene, here is an idea of the rest of the film and how it will link in to my filming of the opening scene:
- The man keeps his face hidden, walking into the abandoned building with a key, showing that it could be his building and that he knows the person building held is in there.
- The man talks to the person like he’s got no name and asking questions about his family.
- The whole storyline to be based on the person in the chair accidently killed the man’s family in a car crash, and now he’s found the person and is going to make them and their family’s life a whole lot worse
- The man gives the person a time limit of things to tell him about his family, where they live and other information. The little things they tell him; the worse things he will do to that family member.
- The person is chair tries to escape, by managing to free himself and managing to do so as he could free one hand.
- After 3 of their family supposedly been killed, the person returns home after contacting the police to find his location, to find the man is his house taking his wife at gun point.
- The person and his wife them get held captive again, and get tortured overtime, leading to death over a long period of time.
- However, someone finds the bodies and reports it to the police, who start running an investigation into how this has happened.
Summary of questionnaire research and conclusions:
From asking people to fill out my questionnaire about the idea of my thriller film, I have seen that the target audience is around the age that I predicted. I wanted my target audience to be between 17 and 21 years of age, and from the answers I have received most of them were in that age category. I decided to ask people of a slightly younger age to see if my film idea was good enough to spread further than a small target audience. This is why I put an age range of between 15 to 21 to see if my thriller actually appealed to more than the expected. In addition to this, I also got answers from people over the age of 41. This is because I wanted to know if people of double my target audiences age would still be interested in this sort of film, and from the results it was very positive.
I decided to ask if people liked the idea of torture being the main idea in the film, and there was quite a mix of responses. As we can see from the graph there was a joint answer between yes and it seeming interesting. This is clearly very positive as around ¾ of people thought it would be a good idea or would be interesting. There was only 4 people that said no, which is a personal opinion and they may not like the idea of lots of crime in a thriller. This is keeping me positive about my idea and I will make sure it is quite graphic to show the pain the person is in, but not too much that it makes it over the top.
The one question that had an answer that stood out massively was “what makes thrillers appeal to you?” From this you can see that 21 people said a challenging storyline is the main reason why a thriller film would appeal to them. This is extremely helpful as the idea for my thriller was to make the storyline quite hard to understand, but as the film progresses and hints get given then the audience will end up knowing why certain things happened earlier in the film. This then also temps someone to watch the film a second time when they know why certain problems/events had happened.
This question had a mixed response, but shows that many people thought it would be a great idea to kidnap members of the person’s family. This is just the response I wanted as this is purely what my film is based upon. However, three people said it’s too over the top, but as it’s only a small minority I will probably keep the idea the same as most people find the idea great.
There was a mix of responses for what type of thriller people prefer to watch, and this was expected as people just have their own likes and opinions on films. It shows that a psychological thriller was slightly more preferred than a horror, and crime was slightly behind them. As my film is a crime thriller, I will try and add a little more graphic shot to add more of a horror side to it, but as it’s a 15 rated I cannot put too much in there.
This graph shows that people think that props are very important in a thriller film. Originally I was going to use as little as possible, and props that don’t normally get used in a thriller to make it unique. However, from the graph I feel I may need to use quite a few important props (such as many guns) to keep the audience interest in not only what’s happening but also the props used and their significance.
These results show that music is a key factor for a thriller film to build suspense. During editing I will try and add music to build up suspense, and use sounds such as a heartbeat to show how the person being tortured in feeling.
This shows that many people don’t want much of the plot to be revealed at the start, and only hints will be given. This is exactly what I originally planned and I’m going to give discrete hints into what might happen further in the film. For example, a red blood stain on the knife already, showing that it has been used for killing before and that it will be expected to happen again.
There was a mix of responses for what type of thriller people prefer to watch, and this was expected as people just have their own likes and opinions on films. It shows that a psychological thriller was slightly more preferred than a horror, and crime was slightly behind them. As my film is a crime thriller, I will try and add a little more graphic shot to add more of a horror side to it, but as it’s a 15 rated I cannot put too much in there.
This was a general question about thrillers themselves and if the people answering them were people who regularly watch them. Half the people said it was one of their favourite which shows that my film should appeal to at least half the people that took the questionnaire.
From the questionnaire i have decided to make my target audience between the ages of 16 and 21. I think this because many of the people who answered the questionnaire of this age found that the idea of a phycological thriller was best, which suits my plan perfectly as thats what i will be filming. In addition to this, many people of a younger age were more thrilled by the idea of a hostage situation than older adults who believed it was too over the top and difficult to understand. Furthermore, as i am 16 years old i have some understanding into what others around the similar age of me would like, and personally along with the evidence from the feedback, this would suit young adults much more than older adults.
In the film, the actors are of a young age. Usually for a typical phycological thriller the actors are mature adults between the ages of 30 and 40. However, in my film the two actors are of the same age of me, but i will be using makeup to make them look older, and the two actors are only supposed to be in their early 2o’s.
Summary of plan:
I feel like my opening will fit the thriller genre very well as it is based on torture and there is a lot of action to do with the antagonist and taking each family member. The idea of lots of crime and building suspense throughout the film is typical of a thriller, and I will give many hints on what will happen further in the film in the opening few minutes of the film.
I feel the plan for my plot of “Process of Elimination” will suit my target audience very well. One reason why I think I have met my target audience is because of the questionnaire. I asked a range of questions to see what people thought of my idea, and many of them that responded were aged between 16 and 21. This is good as the film is certificated as a 15, and is the age range where I thought my audience would be.
I feel it meets the 15 certificate as it has a range of violent scenes of the man being help in a chair, tied up showing tools covered in blood. There will also be some swearing involved when the antagonist is having flashbacks and it starts to scare him.
I feel my opening will fit mis-en-scene well as the setting is going to be based in two places; an abandoned building and in a graveyard. This fits the idea of a psychological thriller which links well to my narrative. I will also use black and white scenes when the antagonist is in the graveyard, and then dark and coloured scene when in the building with the man held captive. I think my ideas will be very effective and not too difficult to film, and editing will play a huge part in the film with sound and effects.
Working Title ideas:
Process of Elimination
The Family Funeral
For my working title I have decided to use Process of Elimination. I have decided to use this title as I feel it links in well with the narrative of the film. The fact that the antagonist is deciding to kill the person’s family one by one is a process of elimination. In addition to this, I feel it would interest people to watch it more than my other ideas, as fatality could only mean one killing or bad thing that happens. I was tempted to use The Family Funeral instead, but I felt like it gave away too much of what the storyline would be about and the audience would already expect what will happen. Furthermore, I feel like the word Elimination links in well because as the film progresses, the title stands out more and more to the audience and the family end up being killed in age order.
Basic outline for opening:
The antagonist has a grudge against the man he’s holding hostage as he is the man who killed his family in a car crash. The opening will consist of the antagonist walking towards his family’s grave holding flowers, making the audience feel sympathy towards him. While he’s walking towards the grave he will have many flashbacks to how the car crash happened, as well as hearing the 999 call put through when the crash happened. Then it will cut to the antagonist getting out of his flash car going into the building where he is held captive. He gives the man a time limit on information to give him on each of his family members, and says that he’s going to kill them one by one. This is why the title is Process of Elimination as each family member is to be killed one by one. However, the man manages to escape as the rope comes loose, and he calls the police using a mobile left in the room to identify where he was. He then goes to his wife’s house, where he finds the antagonist taking his family. As he tries to help, the antagonist also takes him again, and kills them off one by one. Then someone finds the building after years of them being missing, and a big police investigation happens into how they were killed. In the meantime, the antagonist is living a normal life with no evidence held on him.
Scripts- Process of Elimination
Firstly, the hostage doesn’t have much dialogue in the opening, and the antagonist also does not. This is used to keep the audience guessing and deciding what’s going to happen.
While tied up: “HELP! HELP ME!”. This is the first shot of the film.
Constant crying and heavy breathing due to the pain and damage that has happened to them.
When antagonist pulls up in his car outside, the hostage is trying to free themselves and can hear movement from outside. As the Door begins to open begins screaming “NO not again, SOMEONE HELP ME I BEG”.
Most of the time is focusing on sound and editing, and for the hostage the main focus is their cuts and bruises from being beaten and tied up to the chair.
Walking up towards his family’s grave- “I’d do anything to be with you again, missing you”
The audience feel sympathy, although he’s the one who’s keeping the person hostage due to killing his family in a car accident.
Walking back away from the grave, upset and whispering to himself a prayer.
Pulling up in car to the building, putting white latex gloves on- “Let’s end this, they can feel the pain they’ve put me through”.
A lot of this filming is based on sounds, lighting, editing and movements to keep the strong idea of a psychological thriller, as well as the flash backs the antagonists sees from when his family were killed.
Brize Norton church
I have chosen this location as it is very near to me which is very good, but mainly because I need a churchyard for the antagonist to go and visit the family grave. This is perfect as it is well placed in the small village and I have been given permission to film there.
In addition to this, I feel adding a church into a thriller film to do with death is ideal and needed as it makes the audience feel sympathy towards the man who they don’t know is the antagonist, yet.
This is where the hostage is going to be held, which is my garage, but being used as a cold empty room to make it horrible for them. The light will not be on, and everything closed off with a varied use of usual tools that the antagonist will use on the hostage.
These are white gloves that the antagonist will be wearing. This gives the idea that he is going to kill
the hostage and needs to hide evidence of him killing them.
Additional Shooting scripts:
One risk assessment that I have to take into consideration is one of the locations I am filming at. This is the churchyard in Brize Norton village. As this is a public place it is easy to access, but people who may visit there for the reason of going to see the graves may not like the idea of seeing me film there. Because of this, I have asked for permission to film there from the vicar and he was okay with it. I did this to make sure it didn’t cause any problems if people were to ask what I was doing.
In addition to this, the church is located almost on the main road (station road) meaning I will have the be careful about being close to the road and be aware of the dangers from being near the road. This is for the safety of me, the two actors and the camera equipment being used to film.
There are going to be many tools shown and held in the opening scene that will have to be used carefully and kept a safe distance away from each actor. These props include hammers, nails, screwdrivers and a pen knife. All of these props can cause huge injuries if an accident was to happen and will have to be handled with care. To make these safe to use, the actor holding the props will always be wearing gloves to protect their hands, and it will be kept a safe distance away from the hostage so then there’s lower risks of accidents happening.
Lastly, when using lighting in the garage where the hostage is held, wires may be spread across the room. This is a safety hazard as someone could trip over the wires and hurt themselves. It could also damage equipment or others around them. To prevent this. All wiring has been set up properly already before filming and not easy to trip over.
Sounds and Music:
Here are a few links to show music i have looked into and i may use parts of the music in the videos to put together:
This is music i will use to put in the background as the antagonist is walking through the graveyard and looking at his families grave. This will make people feel very emotional and have sympathy towards him. However, the do not know yet that he is the antagonist holding the hostage.
Alice Shuttleworth: Hostage Benjamin Light: Antagonist
Charlotte Ford: Makeup Artist
Charlotte kindly said she would come and do makeup for Alice ( the hostage) to make it look much more realistic as she has been captured. This will involve making Alice’s face look like she has cuts and bruises, as well as scars and burns.
How did Storyboarding, scripting, planning and shooting go?
To begin with, storyboarding went well although i am not a very good artist so it took a while to get storyboards that made sense and that you can easily link to the plot. However, further through the process when it came to revised storyboards i forgot to do some meaning i had to catch up and do them just before i filmed. In addition to this, once i filmed many shots i wanted to change meaning my storyboards would have to change. This meant that after i first filmed i remembered to stick to the plot carefully and re do storyboards for the shots i changed.
Scripting was very successful and i had many ideas of what to do. Once deciding what my entire plot would be i was able to write them. I spoke to my two actors beforehand to discuss what they thought was best to say and do in terms of camera angles which really helped me creating good ideas. I had to create additional scripts once i realised i did not have enough shots compared to in my film so i added in the parts i was missing to make sure everything was complete.
Planning was a very long process and quite difficult to decide on my final plot and then finally produce it. Planning involved many things such as health and safety risks, working with the actors and making sure everything was in place to film. One problem i faced with health and safety was that the churchyard was very close to the road and one of my actors Ben had to cross the road. This meant that we had to be careful with crossing the road and having other people in the shots. To solve this we filmed many times of the same shot and had someone on the other side of the road giving Ben the signal when the road was clear.
I feel shooting the film went really well and was a lot better than i expected. My actors were readily available as well as charlotte helping with costume and makeup meaning the process ran smoothly. While shooting i sometimes found i wanted to change a few parts as i felt they did not work well which meant more time was taken and i ended up filming on four different days. However it was worth it as the overall film worked a lot better once these were changed and improved.
Art of the Title Sequence:
Title telling the audience about the officers killed during duty- off centre showing the list of names to the side. Centre frame scrolling down all the names of officers killed with the dates in ascending order.
Clint Eastwood is the star actor and name comes up in centre frame with him in the background. His name is shown on its own to show his importance.
When shown the production company Malpaso, it is shown in a larger text size than other writing. This is to show that the film is based more on the reputation of the company and not big-name actors. The font is big, bold and all in capitals, making it stand out clearly and is easily read.
Other names of less importance and knowledge to the audience are not shown centre frame and is in a smaller text size. They are shown in bigger amounts of people and not individually to also show their lower status.
Title dirty harry using different colours, dirty in red and Harry in yellow. The font size is also slightly smaller for the word dirty, and the writing fades in and out. This suggests the film is more about the character than the labels attached to him. In addition to this, the writing is placed off centre to the right and over the man’s body. This is done so we feel he is importance and we immediately focus on him rather than the other man.
At 2:47 minutes, it shows the names of actors in a circle shape in the centre of the screen. This could show that the names opposite each other are enemies in the film.
When it shows that is was directed and produced by Don Siegel, it is shown last to make the audience remember who’s produced it as the audience you don’t usually remember everyone that was said.
The main actors are first shown in larger text at the start of the opening.
Robert Zemeckis film- first shown as it’s his film. This is shown first to use the well-known actor to appeal to people more than the film.
Tom Hanks shown as only actor before Forrest Gump title gets shown. This is to show they are relying on the well know actors in the film. Also this shows his importance in the film.
The Font of the writing stays the same throughout the film. This could show that all the actors are equal in the play.
When the writing appears it fades away at the end to go onto the next one. This is used to keep the flow of the film the same throughout and give everyone an equal time of showing their names.
At 1:48 minutes, the three producers get shown at the same time. They are all placed in centre frame to show their importance and that the film is relying on the names of well-known producers for people to watch it.
The producers are shown together to show that they are part of a team and work better together, whereas the actors are shown individually to show that they are talented on their own.
The last name to be shown is that it is directed by Robert Zemeckis. His name was the first to be shown and now the last, to show the importance of the actor and that they are replying on his talent in the film.
Winowa Ryder is first shown centre frame of the opening in white text and in bold. This shows her importance and talent as an actor and will be a key part of the film.
The writing is in capital letters, suggesting that these are the importance people within the film and should be noticed.
As the text fades, the colours turn from white to red. The connotations of white are good connotations such as light and purity. However, the colour red has a different set of connotations, such as danger and blood. This could suggest that they will turn from good too bad in the film, or that they are more good than bad.
David Harbour is shown individually as well, but from then on people are shown in twos or in a list. Again this shows the importance of Winowa Ryder and David Harbour and that they are well known on their own, whereas the others work as a team to make work as good as the other two.
All names are shown centre frame throughout to show they all have an equal part to play within the film.
The last writing to be shown the producers who are the Duffer Brothers. This implies that they are using the knowledge of the Duffer Brothers for the audience to know that it will be a good film as they are experience producers.