Presentation on theme: "Thriller By Rebecca Bloomfield. Genre Overview Thrillers are seen as being thrilling and dangerous because ordinary things are used to create fear and."— Presentation transcript:
Genre Overview Thrillers are seen as being thrilling and dangerous because ordinary things are used to create fear and suspense by making the typical become atypical. During these films extraordinary events happen in ordinary situations, unveiling the ‘evil’ in society. They have an affect on the audience which is both physical and psychological. Whilst danger and violence can make them jump and thrill them, anxieties and suspension can create an emotional response.
Historical Perspective Alfred Hitchcock was an English film director and producer who is considered to have led the way in introducing the world to the Thriller genre, declaring his intention “to give the public good, healthy, mental shake- ups.” Framing camera shots to maximise emotions such as fear or anxiety, and including twist endings and plot twists to create anticipation and suspense, his cinematic devices have helped define Thriller. Some of his ‘rules’ are that, in the Thriller, whodunit is not that important, that the leading protagonist can be an innocent bystander, and that a Macguffin (an event which initially seems important) can be left unexplained. His films include The Lodger, Psycho, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Rebecca.
Sub-Genres and Hybrids Crime (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Inception) Spy (Mission Impossible and Bourne) Serial Killer (The Blair Witch Project and Se7en) Disaster (The Day After Tomorrow and 2012) Medical (Contagion and Coma)
Thriller Narrative Themes & Conventions A Thriller film can be defined by the narrative conventions used. They stereotypically leave the audience on the edge of their seats in suspense by using red-herrings and false paths, with the plot revolving around a problem caused by a villain which the hero needs to solve. Thrillers very often have crime at the core of the restricted narrative so that questions and riddles remain unanswered until the end of the film with the plot itself building towards a climax. Using Todorov’s theory of narrative, we can structure the narrative into five stages: 1.A state of equilibrium 2.A disruption of the equilibrium 3.A recognition of the disruption 4.An attempt to repair the disruption 5.Restoration of the equilibrium A good example of a Thriller film which follows this is Jaws. Whilst everything starts off typically for a beach resort (equilibrium), a young woman dies (disruption) and they realise they have a shark attack on their hands (recognition). They go searching for the shark to prevent more attacks (repair), and finally manage to kill it (restoration).
Typical Thriller Characters Using Propp’s theory, the characters of a Thriller can be categorised with the hero being the character who restores the narrative equilibrium whilst defeating the villain. A typical Thriller protagonist is an innocent victim. They are often everyday people or bystanders who are simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The antagonist usually knows of a flaw in the protagonist’s personality and uses it against them – this also makes the character seem more realistic as the audience can relate to them (e.g. Max from Collateral is seemingly quite ‘normal’. He works hard at his job as a taxi driver and we are introduced to his dream and fantasy of being able to get away. Because this seems so typical, it gives the film a sense of realism). The antagonist of a thriller tends to have had run-ins with the law. They are psychotic individuals who are very intelligent and have unpredictable behaviours which makes them seem invincible. In Horror/Thriller hybrids they can be supernatural, with their identity being hidden throughout some of the film.
Mise-en-scene The setting of Thriller films can vary widely, usually depending on the sub-genre. They often take place in a typically ‘safe’ place, such as a school or hospital, or in the middle of a busy city full of people to increase the danger. Sometimes the diegesis is a made-up world, created especially for the film (such as Prometheus). Props and decor used indicate the genre as well as contributing to the narrative. A good example of this is the briefcase in Collateral which indicates to the audience that the character Vincent isn’t just visiting L.A for a holiday – he is in fact there to work. Costume and make-up informs the audience of the situation a character is in, their social status and the type of person they are. Ordinary clothes reflect everyday people, whereas the antagonist or protagonist sometimes has clothing which is a little more unusual to draw the attention to them. The film Contagion uses hospital gowns and make-up to make the actors and actresses look ill and dying.
Mise-en-scene Continued Low key lighting gives the film a much scarier tone, adding in mystery with what you can’t see to leave the audience guessing. It plays with the common fear of being afraid of the dark, creating suspense and tension. Giving the lighting blue or yellow tints can create an atmosphere to reflect the film (e.g. blue to represent sadness), whilst de-saturating the colour completely makes it much more eerie and dark. Figure expressions help the audience understand the characters’ actions and emotions, driving the narrative on. It helps portray the typical Thriller emotions such as anxiety, fear and concern which would otherwise be difficult to show.
Mise-en-scene in Brick Figure Expression: - Hunched over. This tell us that the character is scared and vulnerable. Lighting: - Lighting is dark, blue and desaturated. It creates a sad atmosphere and adds mystery. Prop: - Bangles show the flashback. Costume: - Casual, young. Glasses suggest intelligence. Dark colours make him seem mature and independent. Location: - Suburbs, a typical thriller setting. Telephone box is very normal. Prop: -Cigarette suggests stress and introduces the antagonist with a negative prop.
Cinematography Techniques The cinematography of a film shows you the key elements of the mise-en-scene and the moves, angles and details all hint at characterization and narrative. Typical Thriller cinematography includes: Low/high angles show the struggle between good and evil by showing who has the most power. It can also illustrate vulnerability, something which is key to thrillers where you have a protagonist and an antagonist. Close-ups show emotion and expression through the character’s faces, creating empathy from the audience as well as suspension, fear and tension. A C.U of an object or prop can imply that it is important to the narrative. Tracking – often using a dolly – can make the audience feel part of the action, as well as matching the cut of a frame with the action. A good example of this is in Batman when he drives the Tumbler car away from the Police. Graphic Matching can be used to convey a sense of time, or show a change in location. The film Brick uses it for both these reasons: to show the narrative going back to the past when the shot changes from the bangles on Emily’s dead body, to the bangles on her hand when she posts a note in a locker, and a change in setting from the note in school with two street names on, to the sign showing the street names itself. A lack of an Establishing Shot is a common element to Thrillers. This gives the audience limited information about the diegesis and the characters, leaving them guessing. An example of this is the opening scene to Collateral where sound is used to set the scene.
Editing Techniques Typical editing in Thrillers include fast-paced action scenes including short takes and fast, frequent cuts with continuity editing used so that the audience is focused on the action and not on the editing. Kill Bill is a good example of a film where split screen narratives are used. It is used to show two different events happening at the same time, and in this example the actions of two characters. Cross cutting (a.k.a parallel editing) is similar to split screen, however rather than having a divide down the middle it instead cuts continually between two or more scenes often happening at the same time but in different locations. It is used in Quantum of Solace to heighten a state of tension and suspense, following the action and movements of the characters. [x]x
Editing Techniques Used In ‘Brick’ POV and 180 degree rule – shows him searching for her but it doesn’t go past the phone box and break the rule, maintaining on-screen direction and spatial awareness. Eye line match - between him and his sister’s body. It shows her legs and head face down in the sewer, telling you that she’s dead and that he’s looking at her. Graphic match – it shows his sister’s arm and bangles when she’s dead in the water, and then when she’s at school. This tells the audience that they have gone back in time and that the scene has changed.
Sound Thrillers and the majority of films consist of diegetic and non-diegetic sound. Diegetic sound is that which you would expect to hear in the frame (e.g. a gun shot or a dog barking) – and non-diegetic sound is that which has been added during post production (e.g. the soundtrack). Instead of an establishing shot, some Thrillers use ambient sound to set the scene. This is the naturally occurring background noise of the given location and it tells the audience where the narrative is set. An example of this is the opening scenes of Collateral which is set in an airport, so you can hear the noises of other people talking as well as tanoy announcements and suitcase wheels. Many Thriller film soundtracks include very well known music – especially ones such as Mission Impossible and Jurassic Park. The Mission Impossible theme tune [x] is very fast and reflects the action of the film whereas Jurassic Park’s [x] is more sombre and secretive, yet serene, which matches the story of there being dinosaurs on a tropical island in the middle of the ocean. The volume and pitch of the sound can have an affect on the audience. A high pitch can resemble screaming whilst a low pitch sounds like a groan. This can make the viewer feel uncomfortable and nervous. High volume cam make them jump, whereas complete silence is eerie and mysterious. Dialogue is very important sound to have in a Thriller as it informs the audience about the characters and the relationships between them as well as moving the narrative forwards.
Thriller Audiences and Certification The typical age rating for Thrillers is 15. This means that they can show the film to a wide audience whilst including elements – such as violence and horror – which are key to the genre. The rating can change, however, depending on the sub-genre. Action and Spy Thrillers tend to be certified as 12 as they do not include graphic violence and sometimes include more family-friendly elements of comedy. Psychological Thrillers which concentrate more on emotions than blood are often rated 15, whereas Horrors can be 18. Both female and male genders are attracted to Thrillers, however it could be said that it is for different reasons. Charismatic male leads, interesting villains and complex narratives appeal to females, whilst action, chase scenes and attractive women leads appeal to men. Audiences like Thriller because the genre brings them what they expect. They watch it to feel the emotions such as suspense and anticipation, as well as for the narratives which commonly revolve around a protagonist and an antagonist – heroes and villains - with disruption of narrative.
Kill Bill Certification Sub Genre: Action / Crime / Thriller Certificate: [x]x Material in the film appears to risk harm to individuals or to society. Details of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal drug use, which could cause harm and go against public morals. Any sexual or sexualised violence which may eroticise or endorse sexual assault. Explicit images of sexual activity which cannot be justified by context. Kill Bill: contains frequent, strong, bloody violence, some sexual content and very strong language. Violence is glamorised and made to seem impressive by using well choreographed fight scenes.
Casino Royale Certification Sub Genre: Action / Adventure / Thriller Certificate: [x]x Discriminatory language or behaviour must not be recommended. Misuse of drugs must be infrequent and should not be glamorised. Moderate physical and psychological threat is permitted provided that any disturbing material is not frequent. Dangerous behaviour should not be too graphic or have the potential to be copied, and not appear pain or harm free. Easily accessible weapons should not be glamorised. Moderate language is allowed. The use of strong language (for example, ‘fuck’) must be infrequent. Nudity is allowed, but in a sexual context must be brief and discreet. Any sexual activity must be brief and discreet. Mature themes are acceptable but must be suitable for young teenagers. Moderate violence is allowed but should not be too detailed. There should be no over-emphasis on injuries or blood. Casino Royale: contains mild sequences of violent action (however he is never severely hurt), a brief, mild scene of torture, sexual content and nudity, but not strong in content.
Initial Ideas Research After watching a few Thrillers, I have come up with some ideas for the film we are making an opening title sequence for. One thing which I really liked was having a group of people instead of just one main protagonist. I got this idea from the A-Team or Mission Impossible where the group consists of similar people who have been demoted and fired from their jobs as soldiers or cops or are having to do this secretly for the organisation they work for. As for setting, I was inspired by films such as The Blair Witch Project where it was a natural, wood-like setting with very few props. However, I also like the idea of having it somewhere urban with a big city so that it makes it more ‘thrilling’. I’d like my OTS to be similar to that of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 which not only set the scene with an establishing shot, but it also introduced all of the characters within the first minute or so. It meant that you got to see what both the protagonist and antagonists were doing in the lead up to the film’s main narrative event. For a plot device, I had an idea where I thought it would be quite a good plot twist if the protagonists are actually the antagonists, but you don’t find out until the end as the antagonists remain very secretive and hide their identities.