Presentation on theme: "Thriller Genre Thriller is a genre that revolves around anticipation and suspense. As it covers a wide range of film, it’s hard to define the genre. This."— Presentation transcript:
Thriller Genre Thriller is a genre that revolves around anticipation and suspense. As it covers a wide range of film, it’s hard to define the genre. This is because there are many hybrids and sub-genres in thriller such as action-thriller, physiological thriller and religious thriller. The aim of a Thriller is to create emotion and keep the audience on the edge of their seats. A Thriller will keep the audience guessing what’s next and usually has a twist. A crime is usually at the centre of the narrative. It will have an antagonist and protagonist. The aim of the protagonist is to try and prevent the intention of the antagonists plans. The characters are usually as complex as the narrative. The main problem is built throughout the film which always leads to a climax.
Narrative themes and conventions There are many themes and conventions of a thriller which identify it to be a thriller: Unexpected twists and turns to keep the audience guessing. The main problem is built up throughout the film which always leads to a final climax, creating tension and a build up of anticipation. An example of this is in Se7en. At the end of the film, after 6 deadly sins already been committed, the murderer hands himself in and leads the detectives to a location where they find a box with the young detectives wife's head inside. The climax of Se7en is that the seventh deadly sin is not committed by the murderer but in fact the new detective creating a climax, as he is getting his revenge- the seventh deadly sin. There is always ‘restricted narrative’ that keeps the audience guessing and doesn’t give a way too much. Questions and riddles will be left unanswered until the end of the film. The narrative structure is complex so that the audience must work out what is going on in the film. Clues are given to help the audience do this and eventually there is a resolution. Todorov had a theory of narrative that suggested that conventional narratives are structured in five stages: 1.Equilibrium 2.Disruption of the equilibrium 3.Recognition of the disruption 4.An attempt to repair this disruption 5.Equilibrium restored This theory can relate to Thriller narrative: An example of this is the thriller, Phonebooth which follows this theory. Equilibrium: The equilibrium is when a man is walking down the street carrying on with his day to day life. Disruption: The disruption is when he enters the phone box and answers the phone. Recognition: The recognition is when he accepts what he has done wrong. Attempt to repair: His attempt to repair the disruption is when he apologises to the he has harmed publically. Equilibrium restored: Finally equilibrium is restored when he thinks the man who has been holding him hostage has been killed by the police. However, he finds out the antagonist is in fact still alive and warns him that he will always be watching him. Even though it is not the same equilibrium as the beginning, it is still his equilibrium but the events of the film have caused it to changed.
Characters T he narrative of thrillers is usually developed through the characters. The villain causes the narrative problem that needs to be solved by the hero. There are many different types of characters in thrillers: Antagonist: antagonists are the ‘evil’ characters. There are usually convicts, criminals, stalkers, assassins, serial killers, kidnappers or terrorists. The antagonist can sometimes be a psychotic individual. They are evil characters, with their identity often hidden at the beginning so we wonder who they are. They are unpredictable and often intelligent, making them seem invincible. Sometimes the psychotic individual who is actually the antagonist can believe that they are in fact the protagonist. For example, in ‘Momento’, the main character thinks he is going to track the killer of his wife down, when in fact he suffers from short term memory loss and he is the one who has murdered her. Protagonist: protagonists are the innocent victims with the main aim to try and prevent the antagonist from accomplishing their plans. They are sometimes characters with dark pasts and often cops or ex-cops. They will often have a ‘flaw’ which is exploited by the antagonist. The protagonist is often an everyday individual who is found in the wrong place at the wrong time becomes involved in a dangerous situation. Some characters are characterised with a sub-genre. For example ‘the final girl’ always stops the villain in a ‘slasher’ horror. Often in cop films, the characters will be paired as a duo. However, in many Thrillers the protagonist will set out on a quest alone, with no help. This means that Thrillers do not follow Propp’s characterisation theory as the hero does not have a helper or a dispatcher.
Cinematography Many different types of shots are used in Thriller films to create tension and suspense. An establishing shot is usually the first shot in a film to set the scene of where the action will be taking place. However, in Thrillers this is not the case as an establishing shot is rarely given to the viewers because they want the audience to have limited information. This is typical of a Thrillers restricted narrative. This keeps the audience guessing filling us with suspense. Close ups of a character or object will often be used to show the significance of an object or the emotion of a character. If it is a close up of a character, this helps the audience to feel or understand how the character is feeling. If it is a close up of an object, it suggests that this object will be a major part of the film and is important. For example, in ‘Collateral’, we see a close up of a bag straight away in the opening title sequence. This tells the audience that the bag has great significance within the narrative. Close ups of a characters face is also important to show emotion. This is key to Thrillers as the themes are suspense, tension and fear. Point of view shots are used to involve the audience in the actions so you can develop a sense of the emotions that the characters are feeling. You can often hear what their breathing is like so it indicates to the audience how they’re feeling. For example, if it was heavy breathing this could represent panic and would cause tension. The aim of a Thriller film-maker is to make the audience as anxious and as tense as the characters so point of view shots are important. Medium shots are often used to show us how the character is feeling or what there personality is like. Medium shots are often from the waist upwards, so we can not only see what they are wearing which could show us their occupation or personality, but also their body language. For example, if a character had their arms crossed it could show they are vulnerable or uncomfortable, which would often be the case in a thriller. Medium shots also show the costumes the characters are wearing, which is key to identify the role or position the character will play in the film.
The camera is often handheld in some scenes of some thrillers to make the audience feel like it is reality. It helps build panic and anxiety as we feel like we are really there keeping us ‘on the edge of our seats’. An example of this is in ‘Cloverfield’ where the whole film is filmed on a personal handheld camcorder. When one of one the main characters ‘Hud’ is recording, he finds himself right under a monster. This helps the audience to empathise with him and we can feel his emotions at that very point in time, because we feel like we are part of the action. It also helps us to feel his state of mind as the camera is shaky showing us he is terrified. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocb7pXndlug) Canted angles are often used in thrillers to make the audience feel uneasy and cause discomfort. Low and high angles are often used in thrillers to show levels of superiority and inferiority. For example, the scene in ‘Cloverfield’ when Hud is below the monster it shows the level of dominance the monster has and the level of vulnerability Hud has. This creates a heightened state of terror in the audience and symbolises ‘good vs. evil’. Reverse zooms are often used to cause great discomfort in the viewer. It is a very peculiar shot; as the camera zooms out of the scenery behind an object or character, it will zoom into the object or character which makes us feel very uneasy as an audience. An example of this is in ‘Jaws’. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svEPWBxpYjo) This is used to emphasise to the audience how he is feeling. We can tell he is feeling discomfort, as are we.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=svEPWBxpYjo
Mise-en-scene Mise-en-scene is a still scenery which will show the audience several things such as props, characters, setting and lighting. The mise-en-scene will often let the audience know what genre it is by showing conventions of that genre. For example in a thriller’s mise-en-scene you would typically find: Low key lighting to build tension and create an uncomfortable atmosphere. De-saturated colour is often used to make it seem almost as if it is cold and makes the audience feel uncomfortable as it has an ‘eerie’ effect. A blue and yellow tint is also used frequently to cause this same effect. Red is often used to symbolise blood and danger. There is often a detective or policeman in costume to show that crime is the centre of the narrative. They will wear stereotypical costumes so that the audience can easily recognise their profession. The antagonist and/or the protagonist are likely to be in the mise-en-scene and what they are wearing can show a persons personality. For example, in ‘Brick’ we see the protagonist wearing glasses. This shows that he is intelligent, but maybe considered a ‘geek’. It suggests he is an outsider and very much alone. However, his clothing is everyday normal clothing, which emphasises that he is an ordinary everyday person.
It is often set in a busy place; often an urban city such as New York so that everything seems normal. This helps the antagonist to blend in so nothing is suspected. We are taken to the dark, sinister spaces within these urban settings. Props that are associated with Thriller include weapons, blood and guns. This shows that the film is going to be a Thriller, and suggest violence will be involved; just like in many thrillers. Other props indicate character traits or narrative clues. For example, in ‘Collateral’ the picture Max has in his taxi tells us that he is a dreamer and not happy with his day to day life. The bag we see a close up of, suggests to us that it will play an important part in the film regarding the narrative. The body language and facial expressions of characters in the mise-en-scene provides the audience with the emotions they characters are feeling. In this mise-en-scene from ‘American Beauty’, we can see that the antagonist on the far right is looking very agitated and rather disturbed. This helps the audience to understand his state of mind as well as his relationship with the other characters in the scene. The girl in the middle is also looking very uncomfortable which emphasises the situation and as an audience makes us feel uncomfortable. Characters in Thrillers go through a wide range of emotions, such as fear and anxiety. Therefore, figure expression is hugely important as it shows us how they character is feeling, helping us to empathise with them and feel the same fear.
Sound In a film sequence there are 2 different types of film: Diegetic: diegetic sound is sound that is naturally occurring within the diegesis. For example, if a door was to slam this would be diegetic sound as the characters within the scene can hear it. Dialogue is also an example of diegetic sound. In a thriller, diegetic sound you would expect to see would be those that make you feel uneasy such as screaming or a character crying out for help. Ambient sounds will always be frequently used to show the urban setting. As the narrative of a thriller is character driven, the dialogue is very important. It can show their personality or give us vital information. For example, in the opening sequence of ‘Collateral’ Vincent says to a complete “You alright mate?” and repeats it. This shows the audience that something is not quite right, as he is being so friendly with a complete stranger he has bumped in to. Ambient sound (usually diegetic) is naturally occurring sound such as birds singing. This is often used in thrillers to emphasise the ordinary location the film is set in. For example, at the beginning of ‘Brick’, all we can hear is the sound of running water. This emphasises to the audience the isolated location. In contrast to this, at the beginning of ‘Collateral’, we can hear the buzzing of people talking and the sound of loud announcements being made. This shows to us that this is a busy location, and a place of arrival (an airport).
Non-diegetic: non-diegetic sound is artificial sound that cannot be heard by people within the diegesis, which is added in during the editing process. Sound effects are often used to emphasise the action taking place. Sound tracks are also non-diegetic sound, of which are written specifically for the film. Theme tunes are played in the opening sequence and/or the credits and will become relatable to the film so that when that theme music plays we instantly relate it to the film. Soundtracks in Thrillers are used to heighten your emotions by filling you with suspense. It makes the action become more dramatic and thrilling. For example, in ‘The Bourne Supremacy’, a chase scene takes place with very repetitive fast paced music which represents action. As the music continues, the volume increases causing our excitement and tension levels to rise. It also has a non- stop note which almost squeaks the whole way through, which causes the audience to feel uncomfortable as it is ‘eerie’. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSat61A4kr8) Pleonastic sound (usually non-diegetic) is sound that imitates or reinforces the action taking place within the scene. For example, in the open title sequence of the thriller ‘Drive’, music is playing. During the opening scene, the main character turns the light switch off when leaving his apartment and the music emphasises this. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIpXQS5gaAw)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIpXQS5gaAw
Editing Techniques Editing is the placing of separate shots together after the film has been shot. Continuity editing is seamless, so the shots run smoothly into each other, and you can barely tell that editing has even taken place. If you can notice the editing, it will be done deliberately to create a heightened state of emotion or some other effect. Editing can also be used to implicate the ending of a scene or passage in time. Continuity editing: you cannot notice continuity editing as it makes the shots flow smoothly onto the next. This allows the audience to become fully absorbed in the action, allowing the audience to ‘suspend disbelief’. As thriller is all about making the audience feel tense, they want the audience to feel fully involved in the action so they can feel emotions with the characters. Graphic match: Graphic match is a continuity editing technique. It is when there is a familiar relationship between the shots so that it links with another scene or point in time. Makes the shots seem smooth; this could be continuity of direction or similar objects or subjects. For example, in ‘Brick’ there is a graphic match of the girls (the victim) bracelet from when she is dead and then when she is alive to show the audience that it has gone back in time.
Match the action: this is when it is cut on the action. They use a few shots of the same action to show the action from the previous shot to match the following shot, so that there is a smooth flow. It is always the same thing, but from a different angle or place. An example of this is in ‘Taken 2’ during a chase scene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjPUeMLNydg). The audiences becomes absorbed into the action and feel tense for the character.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjPUeMLNydg Shot reverse shot: this is when one character is looking at another who isn’t in the shot. It will then cut to a shot of the other character looking back at the first. Because the characters are facing opposite directions, we assume they are looking at each other. In a thriller, we may not be able to see one of the characters as this will keep us thinking and fill us with suspense. In ‘Se7en’ we see this in the end scene when John Doe and Detective Mills are having a conversation. This helps the audience to become fully absorbed into their conversation, feeling the tension, in such a tense scene which builds to a climax. It also shows the audience the emotions the characters are feeling. Parallel editing: this gives the audience the illusion that two things are happening at the same time. The shots will cut continually between at least two scenes happening at the same time but in different locations. An example of this is in ‘Silence of the Lambs’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts1x6uADFtM). We see it cut from a SWAT team outside of the house, to a psychotic kidnapper inside the house. This builds tension as we are convinced as an audience they are going to catch the antagonist. This then builds up to a twist that the SWAT team have actually targeted the wrong house.
Thriller Target Audiences People watch thrillers to feel a heightened state of emotion. Audiences watch thrillers wanting to be thrilled, feel anticipation and be filled with suspense, often leaving viewers unsettled. The target audience of thrillers is a wide audience, ranging from the late teens to middle aged audiences, including those up to about 50 years of age. Thriller appeals to both male and female genders, but in different ways. Both enjoy the thrills and suspense that thrillers create, as well as the climatic moments that build fear. The strong male lead actors, often the protagonist, would appeal to the female audience, especially if the protagonist has a flaw. For example, Liam Neeson in ‘Taken’ is a strong, intelligent character acting as a hero for his daughter. For males, they would enjoy the action and fight scenes that thrillers often offer. Thrillers appeal to a wide social class. It especially appeals to those who wish to engage in a more challenging narrative. General certification given to a Thriller by the BBFC tends to be a 12 or 15. However, those with extreme content would be an 18.
Taken Certification Sub-genre: Crime/ Action Thriller Certificate: 15 Language: There may be frequent use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’). The strongest terms (for example, ‘cunt’) may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable. Taken: swearing is not used frequently throughout the film but is used at times where necessary. Nudity: Nudity may be allowed in a sexual context but without strong detail. There are no constraints on nudity in a non-sexual or educational context. Taken: Nudity is shown briefly at some times as it is set in sex houses. Sex: Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context. Works whose primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation are unlikely to be acceptable. Taken: sexual activity is briefly shown with no strong detail. This cannot be avoided as the narrative is largely about prostitution. Violence: Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable. There may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but any portrayal of sexual violence must be discreet and have a strong contextual justification. Taken: Violence is strong in Taken but once the person has been hurt, the injury is not dwelled on. They are no gory images.
Casino Royale Sub-genre: Action/ adventure Thriller Certificate: 12 Violence: Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context. Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification. Casino Royale: There is moderate violence, but nothing too graphic. Language Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent. Casino Royale: a very small amount of language is used. Nudity Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context must be brief and discreet. Casino Royale: there is very moderate nudity for very short periods of time. Sex Sexual activity may be briefly and discreetly portrayed. Sex references should not go beyond what is suitable for young teenagers. Frequent crude references are unlikely to be acceptable. Casino Royale: as in all Bond films, there is a very small amount of sex scenes. However, it is very brief and nothing graphic is shown.
Initial Ideas For the narrative of my film, I was inspired by ‘Taken’. The reason I love this film is because when his daughter gets taken and is being used for prostitution, he must overcome so many obstacles that seem impossible together, but he still manages to. Because of this, it involves a lot of tense action scenes when you don’t know if the outcome will be successful. In my film, I have chosen to use an idea like this. A teenage girl will be taken whilst on holiday with her friend. Her father then hires a man he knows is amazing at his job to go and find her, but he also has to overcome many obstacles and find several clues. In ‘Momento’, I like the way that the main character uses photographs to try and remember events and find clues to find his wife's killer, as he has short term memory loss. This reason I like this is because it leaves the audience knowing as restricted amount of information as the character, because we don’t know what's happened either- so we must also use the clues from the photographs. In my film, I will use this idea, but slightly differently. My main character will use photographs and documents to plan out his investigation and keep him organised. However, he is never in one place for very long and has to move around a lot to try and find the girl, so he has to take all his photographs with him every time and arrange them in the exact same order every single time- if he messes this up, the whole plan will fail.
Just like in ‘Taken’, my film will be set in Paris. I did this for two reasons: One, because it is a busy city so nothing will be suspected for the antagonist, which is typically of a thriller, and secondly because Paris is meant to be the city of love, but in this case it is a city of danger so it is in total contrast. Just like in typical Thriller, my film will include twists and turns. I was inspired by ‘Man on Fire’, where a young girl is kidnapped and throughout the narrative her personal bodyguard who her family employ is trying to find her and save her. In the end, it turns out that her Father knew about it the whole time, and in fact helped to set it up in a scheme to gain money. In my film, I will use basically the exact idea of this, that at the end we find out that the girls Father has in fact been involved the whole time to try and make money. I really enjoyed the film ‘V for Vendetta’, because as an audience we have no idea who he is, as he wears a mask. I will use this in my film, by making the protagonist wear a mask. This gives the film a huge element of mystery as his ID is hidden, and keeps the audience guessing and looking out for clues about him. It also gives the audience the idea that something dodgy is going on.