Wednesday, 23 March 2011

How did you respond to audience feedback and how valuable was it to you?

Once we received feedback from the class, we took into consideration their opinions and advice for improvement and, if we could redo this task, would have used some of that information to better our project to suit said qualities. For example we received criticism that the final was somewhat like a trailer, and that the soundtrack stopped abruptly – because of this feedback if we had more time we could have changed this by adding more effects and fading out the end of the soundtrack.  However we did also got some more positive comments, mainly about the genre appropriate non and diegetic sound effects and soundtrack and the good use of props, used to portray a message to the audience and to aid them in seeing a small glimpse of a deeper side to the character and her bizarre mental situation. We did also get feedback before the final deadline, which we did indeed use to improve our opening sequence, such as the fact that the title of the project; “Evanesce” was unclear to actually being the main title as it was incorporated into the rest of the sequence and not really distinguished well enough to catch attention. Also after being told there were problems with the colouring of our work, to which we edited it with colour correction upon the final edit deadline. The positive comments we got were helpful in many ways also, not just for a confidence boost but also to help us in the future with other projects we may take part in. We know what things worked well and could use them as a reference or inspiration. We also know that, should this opening project actually make it into the film industry, that certain audiences would appreciate and watch it. Getting feedback upon our work was rather valuable in the respects already stated, for improvement and help should we take part in future projects of the same nature. However receiving feedback after the work was submitted was a little irritating as more things were pointed out that we could have changed to possibly improve our grade, but of course we could not by which time. It was good for the future but not for the current situation. 

Screenshots for Evaluation

Screen shot 2011-03-23 at 10.06.32

Screen shot 2011-03-23 at 10.09.19

Screen shot 2011-03-23 at 10.07.46

Monday, 21 March 2011

Class Feedback Summary

  • Good use of books as props to show protagonist's mental state
  • Good variation of shot types
  • Good credits implemented into the scene and suitable for film
  • Good use  of diegetic and non diegetic sound effects


  • Make the ending less like a trailer
  • Fade out the soundtrack (was supposed to fade - final cut problem?)

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Title Pane


(numbered from left to right)

1. (Convention 1) An example of a normal activity happening in an extraordinary situation which is the girl having a murderous split personality.

2. (Convention 2) A flashback is a common convention of a psychological thriller.

3. (Convention 3) The eye is a common convention used in psychological thrillers as it gives a sense of mystery and covers the themes of identity.

4. (Camera work 1)We used this significance of an eye and used extreme close ups to give a sense of distortion. 

5. (Camera work 2)This is an example of a mid shot.

6.  (Lighting)We used dull lighting to create a dreary atmosphere.

7. (Costume) A shot of a main costume of the protagonist.

8. (Prop)A shot of a prop with narrative significance.

9. (Location) An example of an important location.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Final Thriller Sequence

Final cut deadline day.

Today is the final cut deadline and we have and we feel we have completed our opening deadline and have achieved our aim of completing it on time as we were unable to do so for the children's film project.

However, we received some last minute feedback from Andrea in which we have corrected which was to have more continuity within titles. Also we got feedback in which required us to make some adjustments with colour correction. We are also anxious as our thriller opening sequence is 1 minute 30 seconds which is shorter than the recommended time by Andrea and Holly. However we are happy with the piece and feel adding more would compromise the quality.

To conclude, We feel we have followed the marking criteria and are happy with the sequence we are submitting.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Feedback from the Class

Editing: Continuous, pace was the same throughout, could vary a bit. No different transitions, all using cuts. Add different shot types and transitions.

Camerawork: Good range of different shots, suitable for the genre. Steady camera, helps promote mystery by not showing the girl's face. Well done :3

Titles: Nice use of titles, creative way of using them, the typewriter effect is really good. unclear of what the name of the film is.

Sound: Music was appropriate, went well with what was going on. Fitted in well with the thriller conventions. Voice-over was good, sounded realistic.

Mise-En-Scene: Good use of significant props, realistic blood was good. Good use of the book. Locations could be more connected.

Thriller conventions: Narrative centres around crimes, the antagonist is the protagonist (don't know if its a convention but I like it), micro elements combine to create suspense, the audience is placed in the voyeristic place. We can see the girl is the murderer but the characters cannot.

Action Plan

After having other students review our rough cut film, we have created a list of things that would improve our work for the deadline next week.

  • Editing: A slight differentiation of transitions, pace of editing and to use fewer cuts - we shall improve this by adding different effects between film clips, probably subtle and not too overbearing as to not distract or take away from our current work. However we do disagree that the pace of editing is not varied, within the montage the pace is much faster for example compared to the phone call. 
  • Camerawork feedback was positive.
  • Titles: The title of the film is unclear as it is placed in the middle and not at the end - We shall move the title to the end of the work. 
  • Sound feedback was also positive. 
  • Mise-en-scene: Locations of filming are a little isolated from each other - We cannot do anything about this as we do not have the time to re-film nor are there many places in Cambridge that we can film using very realistic fake blood or violent weapons.    

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


This is our rough cut ready to present to the class on thursday 10th of march.
Everything has gone to plan and it is how we anticipated it to be. We believe to have achieved our aim to portray to the audience the genre through the opening sequence. This is because we were cautious when brain storming ideas that it might look more like a movie trailer.

However, the fast editing and and putting our ideas into a montage to make it less like a story and more like an opening sequence to a film.   Another element of our opening sequence i feel went well was that we managed to use a variety of shots types such as establishing shots, close ups, mid shots etc. There is also the use of hand held which helped to give a sense of distortion.

In tomorrows lesson, I believe the class will be impressed by our credits as they are unique and appealing to the eye. Furthermore, I believe they will appreciate the variety of shot types and fast paced editing in the montage.

However, this may come to be disadvantageous to us as they might find it confusing but that may not be a bad thing as it is a psychological thriller and we deliberately have ambiguous sections.

I am looking forward to what the class have to say tomorrow and hope to improve on any criticisms that we receive.

Monday, 7 March 2011

More accurate film poster


Poster 1


7th March Progress

After discussing our rough cut so far with our teacher, we will be making the following changes if given a chance to shoot more film and also some other general improvements:

  • In the part where there are 'typewriter' style credits we will reshoot this to be typed on 'Lucy's' laptop to add to the element of confusion.
  • We will re-film the phone conversation to make it less obvious that the voice is voiced over by another person. 
  • We will take still photographs of 'Sean' to place in between the shot of the memo and the end of the conversation, probably with an accompaniment sound effect to portray the shock. 
  • We need to cut/change the baseball bat scene to look more realistic
We have added an animated title and finished the majority of our other credits, as well as mostly finished the sound and editing, with a wide variety of transitions and effects.

Screen shot 2011-03-07 at 14.35.50

7th March Update

This lesson we will be completing our credits and hopefully add an animated title 'Evanesce' to our sequence which will hopefully make our piece more unique and dynamic.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Thriller Opening Classification

I believe that our thriller would be a 15. Though it contains violence and gore, it is very moderate and the film does not focus on these elements. The violence does bump up the rating, along with the psychologically disturbing theme of split personality. However, it would not contain strong language or scenes of nudity.

Marking Criteria - Self Evaluation so far

Level 1 = Up to 23
Level 2 = 24 - 35 (Basic)
Level 3 = 36 - 47 (Proficient)
Level 4 = 48 - 60 (Excellence) 

  • Holding a shot steady where appropriate. 
    • We think we are level 3/4 on this, as we have used the tripod to hold the shots steady in some places such as establishing shots, and used a shaky, handheld effect for an anxious atmosphere in certain scenes. 

  • Framing a shot, including and excluding elements.
    • We think we are level 3 for this as we have framed shots, eg. The picture of the empty bench is framed by a tree, and possibly may reach a low level 4. 

  • Using a variety of shot distances. 
    • We think we definitely are level 4, as we have used long shots, close ups, extreme close ups, mid shots, establishing shots etc.

  • Shooting material appropriate to the task.
    • We think we have shot material appropriate to the task as it fits in with the conventions of a psychological thriller - imagery of an eye,  not trusting the narrator - we also think that it is clearly an opening as the beginning of the plot is shown chronologically - so a level 4. 

  • Selecting mise-en-scene
    • We think we should get a high level 4 for this, as a large amount of the footage is focused on mise-en-scene, especially costume and make up - the evil Lucy wears black make up and nail varnish, with dark clothes - and good Lucy has the opposite, no nail varnish and little make up. The locations have also been chosen carefully, for the effect of unsettling the viewer as they are conceivable places.  

  • Editing so that meaning is apparent to the viewer.
    • I believe we have achieved a comfortable level 3 at this as we have edited in a way that portrays confusion and anxiety to the viewer, and allows them to understand the situation, eg. 'evil' scenes being edited to be black and white.

  • Using varied shot transitions and effects.
    • I would guess we reached a level 4 at this because we have used several different shot transitions available in final cut, as well as using effects to blur and affect the footage in different ways.

  • Using sound with images.
    • We have used a lot of sound to achieve the atmosphere - a soundtrack and also several sound effects to the make the situation seem realistic.  

  • Using titles appropriately
    • At present I would say we were only a level 3 as our credits are animated but still very simple - we are planning to use photoshop to edit text and spice up the credits and titles to fit the genre. 


We have several screenshots of footage which needs credits, and are now looking at fonts which match the theme and atmosphere of the clip.

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.34.57

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.34.22

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.33.45

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.46.45

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.47.12

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.43.36

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.43.50

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.43.06

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.42.46

Update - 2/2/11

So far we have...

  • Completed a rough cut of our footage, lasting roughly 1min28secs
  • Added sound (voice over, music, sound effects)
  • Edited the footage
  • Edited part of the credits
  • Looked at fonts for the rest of our credits
We are aiming to...
  • Add photoshopped text to the rest of the credits

Screen shot 2011-03-02 at 09.50.36

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

My Targets for the Thriller Project - Sam

  • To try and learn to use the camera more effectively
  • To learn more editing techniques on final cut
  • To make more notes during the project to help with my final evaluation.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Overall Children's Film Evaluation

Top positive points:

  • Good use of sound that was appropriate and effective for the genre and action
  • Good use of mise-en-scene to appeal to the audience
To improve:
  • Clearer/more emphasised shot distances to create greater effect
  • More sophisticated use of framing to give a more professional look etc

Peer Evaluation of Childrens Film

  • Holding a steady shot when appropriate. 
  • Music was appropriate.
  • Titles are appropriate.
  • Mise-en-scene was appropriate. 

  • No shot distance varieties.
  • Didn't understand the meaning. 
  • Seemed quite random. 

Filming Dates

We are planning to film on the 12th and 13th February in Cambridge. We will need to bring our group members along with some other volunteer actors.

Monday, 31 January 2011

Pitch Qs & As

Who will be acting and voicing over?
Sam will be the main character Lucy - Musty and Abi will be 'murder victims' along with other volunteers. A friend will also be acting as the voice of Lucy for the voice over.

What does the flicker in the screen signify?
It signifies the visual change from good Lucy to bad Lucy, but also reflects the shifting of her personality.

How many murders will be filmed?
We won't film very many murders (6-7), but as it is montage we can use clips from a few murders to put together in a way that they look different, eg. different angles/effects. 

How long will it take to film?
We will be borrowing the camera and tripod for a weekend. 

Location ideas:


Lucy's room

possible murder location

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Final Idea - Psychological Thriller

We are developing this idea:

'The sequence would start with a closed eye (mise-en-scene of pretty makeup). When the eye opens, there is a camera-like flash, which then cuts to the main character walking down an alley-way. The screen would then flicker, as through with interference, and then show in black in white, the main character killing someone in the same alleyway. The screen would then flicker again and go back to the main character simply walking, and the person she was seen killing walks past - reaction shot. A voice over will then start as she is shown writing on pads of paper and screwing them up etc as she explains how she cannot discern what is and isn't real. Filtered music would start with the faster pace of editing and she would be shown trying to take pictures of what she has done - the flash would show fast images of her killing people and stealing etc. It would then show that in the folder where she saved her pictures there is nothing. It could then cut to her closing her eye (mise-en-scene of dark make up) and then black screen and then to her face. She would say how she doesn't know who she is. A knocking on the door would change her thoughts and she would get up and turn off the music, run downstairs, the camera looking at the door as she opens it and the visitor greets her, finally cutting to the name of the film.'

The sub-genre is psychological thriller, with strong themes of identity and reality. The credits shown in the opening sequence would not be intrusive to the opening, in a simple text such as:

'Panther Production Presents'
This would be done so not to take away any of the building atmosphere and uncertainty portrayed in the first 2 minutes. The film will be called 'Evanesce' which means 'vanish'. This title is speaking to how the main character's personality is vanishing and she is becoming someone else. Within the first opening 2 minutes there will only be the main character, named Lucy Rima. Her first name is a reference to Lucifer, as she has sinned.

We plan to film in several locations:

  • Sam's house
  • An alleyway
  • Various outdoor places, eg. in gardens, backstreets. 

We won't concentrate hugely on the lighting, as there are many effects we wish to use on final cut to manipulate our footage. In the 'good' parts, we are planning to over-exaggerate the brightness of the colours, and we are filming the 'bad' parts in black and white, in which we can change the saturation to mould effects. The mood will be strange and creepy, with an emphasis on bright colours and then the huge contrast of simple black and white. 

Costumes will be quite simple: for her 'good' side, Lucy will be wearing a dress and tights, with natural looking make up and pink nail polish. For her 'evil' persona she will be wearing black trousers, top, black leather jacket, black knee-high-boots, black nail polish and with dark make up.

The sound will mostly consist of non-diegetic string undertones, and the voice of Lucy. Also included would be muffled effects, such as camera noises. Lastly there would be a partial, diegetic soundtrack included to create an atmosphere, which would then be switched off by Lucy. 

Most of the camera shots will be either long shot or close to extreme close ups. The long shots will often be canted angles as they will be when Lucy is murdering people, and the close ups will be of key props, for example a knife, her eye, a chain used to strangle someone etc. The editing will be a mix of continuity and montage. The beginning will be continuity until the diegetic music starts. This will then change to montage editing with close ups of murder weapons and long shots of the murder, until the music is then stopped. The editing will then become continuity again. 

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Thriller Opening Ideas

Idea One: Psychological Thriller

  • Our psychological thriller would have a main theme/plot-line of an unclear line between reality and hallucinations. For example, the main character could be seen walking down an alleyway and then the screen would flicker, like static, to show a quick shot of them stabbing someone in the same alleyway, and then flicking back to them walking - this leaves the viewer in the same mental confusion as the main character - what is and isn't real?

  • The plot-line would focus on the character trying to figure out what actions she is actually doing, and what she is hallucinating. She would try to use a variety of things, for example to write down what she sees, take pictures etc - but she still would not know eg. the notes being confused, the camera disappearing etc. Eventually she would end up finding out she has a uncontrollable split personality that acts on her subconscious violent throughs, when she kills someone close to her - for example a boyfriend or best friend - she dreams she does it, and when going to visit that person, she sees they are actually dead. Also, throughout the film we see her 'nice' personality morphing slowly into the violent girl in her 'hallucinations', ending with a voiceover stating that she used to be scared of her hallucinations, but now she knows that being a killer is a part of her. 

  • The conventions we would include would be things such as the imagery of the eye often seen in this sub-genre, unreliable narrator - the audience would not trust the main character's narration/voice overs as she is seen to also be a killer. We would also include fast-paced editing, and the theme of identity - as in she does not know who she is, the killer or the normal person. 

the opening sequence: 

The sequence would start with a closed eye (mise-en-scene of pretty makeup). When the eye opens, there is a camera-like flash, which then cuts to the main character walking down an alley-way. The screen would then flicker, as through with interference, and then show in black in white, the main character killing someone in the same alleyway. The screen would then flicker again and go back to the main character simply walking, and the person she was seen killing walks past - reaction shot. A voice over will then start as she is shown writing on pads of paper and screwing them up etc as she explains how she cannot discern what is and isn't real. The music pace would speed up with the pace of editing and she would be shown trying to take pictures of what she has done - the flash would show fast images of her killing people and stealing etc. It would then show that in the folder where she saved her pictures there is nothing. It could then cut to her closing her eye (mise-en-scene of dark make up) and then black screen and then to her face. She would say how she doesn't know who she is. If we have time, the music will become almost actiony as it cuts from her walking in a normal 'pretty outfit' to her in dark clothes and an 'evil persona', finally cutting to the name of the film.

Idea Two: Criminal Thriller
  • The criminal thriller would, as with the conventions of this sub-genre, focus on the criminals. A gang of criminals are seen robbing a bank at the beginning, before being turned on by one of their own who shoots their way out and takes the money. The film would focus on the search within the gang for the traitors accomplice, who is still hiding in the gang. Conventions included would be double-crosses, shoot-outs and obviously, the crimes such as heists. 
  • The main themes would be identity - as in, who in the gang is betraying them. This lack of trust would cause the audience to not trust any of the narrators, which would create an unnerving effect. There would also be narrations from each character, which would show everything from a different perspective, intensifying the identity crisis. 

the opening sequence: 

The film would open mid-way through the initial bank robbery, the camera positioned in a voyeuristic view, filming through the window, and cutting to them stuffing money in a bag. There would be a voiceover of the gang leader explaning the steps of the robbery and cut to relevant actions, eg buying the guns etc. This would be a long montage. It would then cut to the end of the gun as the traitor shoots two of the gang members and runs with the money, ending with the title.

Idea Three: Mystery Thriller

  • The plot line would consist of the main character finding his best friend dead on the floor. He would then be arrested and questioned - as he is the main suspect. The plot would consist of the main character both avoiding the police before he can be convicted of the murder, and trying to solve the mystery of who really killed them. The end would leave the main character dead after being shot by the police, who then discover a bag holding evidence that makes him innocent and incriminating his sister. The final shot would be of him in a coma in the hospital, and his sister coming in the room with a knife. 
  • The main themes would be the imagery of the eye, which would be the clue as his sister has a company with an eye as the logo. It would also contain themes of perception, as we would also see the evidence against him cutting to the perspective of the police officers chasing him. 
The opening sequence:

It would begin with a pool of blood growing from the body, and then feet walking in the room. There would be a voiceover of the main character explaining how it all began when his friend was found dead. It would show handcuffs being clipped around his wrists and cut to him in an interrogation room. The voices from the interrogation would stay but the images would change from the interrogation to him finding his friend dead. It would end with him finding his only clue - a torn piece of paper he takes from the body, showing a badly drawn eye, and then cut to the title. 

Monday, 24 January 2011

Panther Productions

Panther Productions

We decided to call our company Panther Productions as it is clear what the company does from the name, and the alliteration makes it a pleasing combination. We also thought that the symbolism of a panther can apply to all age groups - younger audiences will appreciate the animal link, as well as older audiences. 

This is our general logo: 

The name is clear and in bold, with the panther in the background. Because of the sun, the contrast is clear and also portrays a positive and optimistic atmosphere. This logo is also easily manipulated depending on genre, as we can change the font and colour of the logo to suit. To show how easily we can do this, we made a variation for a horror genre. 

Though it is not easily animated, we believe that the simple movement of the text would add to the logo when shown at the beginning of a film. Also, added effects, eg. for horror, dripping blood, could add to the atmosphere. We would like to add a sound to this, for example a roar to fit with the imagery. 

Logo Analysis

Warner Bros. Pictures

Warner Bros. have produced many films of different genres, including several thriller films, eg. Inception. Whilst the logo mostly remains the same, the company often edits their logo to reflect the genre of film that is shown. 

For example, the Harry Potter logo is dark and mysterious to reflect the genre.

The Matrix version is green with more digitalised looking clouds.

Their logo reflects their company extremely well as it is very versatile and can be manipulated to suit many different genres - in turn mirroring the huge amount films this company has produced. 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Analysis of Past Students Work

T1-29 (2009/10) :

  This group managed to keep a steady shot effectively possibly using a tripod at the news report scene which needed a steady shot as it was a formal representation of BBC news. However, when the shot was focused on the man walking towards the end of the clip, the camera was handheld and slightly shaky as if the audience were following him.

All material shots were appropriate to the task and the editing consisted of a montage of various locations possibly relating to past or future events, the music that assisted it made the audience feel melancholy. The mise en scene was done well as the costume was appropriate and the also the location was very accurate. Furthermore, the effects were successfully done as they managed to insert the BBC logo and strap line to make it more realistic. The shot transitions were limited which may have been their aim as it makes it more straight forward and does not distract the audience's attention. The title was not distinguished effectively from the names of those involved.

U1-33 (2009/10) :

The start of the clip was handheld and a little shaky and it was hard to tell what was going on but was effective to create a little tension especially with the fact there was no music over the top and just the sound of heavy breathing. Shot distances were used effectively such as the over shoulder when the man is attempting to restrain the other, and high angles of someone being ill.
All material shot themselves was appropriate though didn't sync in  well with clips they had used from other sources.

Mise-en-scene (location) of start was good, running through unkept land to get away from the infected. Editing was fast pace to create a form of tension. Title at the end of the clip creates impact with the bang of the hand on the glass of the door.
Transitions were limited though worked well with fast editing as it didn't break anything down, effects at start of FBI symbols made the problem of the plot line seem very serious and dire.

Marking Criteria

Level 1 = Up to 23
Level 2 = 24 - 35 (Basic)
Level 3 = 36 - 47 (Proficient)
Level 4 = 48 - 60 (Excellence) 

  • Holding a shot steady where appropriate.
  • Framing a shot, including and excluding elements.
  • Using a variety of shot distances. 
  • Shooting material appropriate to the task.
  • Selecting mise-en-scene
  • Editing so that meaning is apparent to the viewer.
  • Using varied shot transitions and effects.
  • Using sound with images.
  • Using titles appropriately. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

Fargo Conventions

Fargo is a crime thriller. There is use of stereotype in the pub scene, carried through to others when a man is chain smoking throughout most of the footage we saw. The lead male character is slightly confused and clueless, this is quite typical of a film with this genre as there is always someone who does not know what they are doing. The woman is the target in this movie as she is going to be kidnapped, this also portrays a typical image as women are seen as more vulnerable. The way the woman is portrayed is typical for most movies as all shots of her are in the kitchen or when she is cooking for the males or cleaning.

More conventions include the surrounding areas for example they portray a sense of isolation for certain characters giving off a signal that something important is going to happen later on. Furthermore, the location is seen to be safe and there is nothing suggestive that this neighborhood is dangerous, also they live in a normal family home which seems happy and safe.

A father-in-law always seems to be against his daughters husband, this is shown in this movie around the dinner table when the husband has a business proposition he discusses with his wives father. The reply is blunt and patronising, this also shows lack of interest in what the husband has to say.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

"Memento" Clip

(Directed by Christopher Nolan, 2000)

(this clip does not show the next scene we analysed)

The starting clip of "Memento" (released in 2000 with Christopher Nolan as the director) follows many of the typical conventions of Psychological thrillers. The film opens with an ambiguous soundtrack of string instruments - often associated with tension and suspense. A close up of a photograph shows that the object is of narrative significance, and also the absence of the face of the character means his identity is kept from the audience. It also allows us to pick up subtle references to his amnesia - for example, the writing on his hand. We are shown that the continuity of the clip is skewed, as when shaking the photograph as one would to develop the photo, the photo becomes less clear and vanishes.

The reverse editing is made even clearer as the photo shoots back into the camera and the face of the murdered man is shown - there is a close up of the dead man's glasses - a reference to the imagery of the eye. They are broken as a result of the struggle and his death, showing that he now has no identity.

As with the conventions of a psychological thriller, the audience is unnerved as the narrator of the story seems untrustworthy. Also this references the common theme of identity, as in the next scene he is shown to be vulnerable and confused rather than dangerous and merciless. We are further introduced to the protagonist with a close up of the eyes - a reference to the common psychological imagery of an eye - being the 'window to the soul'.

The camera then shifts to a high angle, further showing the protagonist in a vulnerable position. The voiceover of the protagonist introduces us to another common feature of psychological thrillers - his achilles heel. It is revealed to us that the character has amnesia and can remember no new memories. This causes him to be portrayed as easily manipulated and confused. The murder scene is shown in colour but the next scene is shown in black and white, this could show a change in time - the black and white being the older memory, presumably showing the events up until the murder we have just witnessed.

Conventions of a Psychological Thriller

  • Central theme of identity, for example mistaken identity, stolen identity, lost identity (amnesia), dual identity and doppelgangers
  • Perception - the narrative is often shown from the perspective of multiple characters
  • Reality - there is often confusion between what is and isn't real, and commonly the character's idea of reality is different to that of the norm that is established in the film
  • Memory - the torture of an individual by a traumatic even, and/or the search of a lost memory
  • Stream of Consciousness - the viewer is encouraged to identify with a certain character's psyche
  • Unreliable narrator - The person telling the story is often discovered to be untrustworthy, which unnerves the viewer
  • Flashbacks, time reversal/fast forwarding, non-linear narrative editing
  • Imagery - the eye is a regular visual motif within the psychological thriller genre 

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Alfred Hitchcock: "Number Seventeen" Opening Sequence Analysis

Number Seventeen

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1932
Based on a play by J.Jefferson Farjeon
Starring Leon M. Lion, Anne Grey, John Stuart, Donald Calthrop, Barry Jones and Gary Marsh

We analysed the sequence from 1.04 until 4.43.

The first moments of the clip show a windy, spooky night which makes the film start off with suspense as the weather is empathetic to the situation. To add to the suspense there is also empathetic tension building, non-diegetic music. This is a convention of thrillers as the sounds of the windy night are exaggerated, making the audience feel tense. The plot is, as with most thrillers, ambiguous and unclear at the beginning causing questions to arise in the audience's mind, and also stays with the conventions of thrillers focusing on a crime as the main plot.

There are examples of experimental editing, which is often seen in the thriller genre. When the characters see the corpse on the floor, the image of a speeding train suddenly appears on the screen, followed by twisted close ups of the character's reactions.

 Reaction shot.

Train... we know it's hard to believe

As with most thrillers, the audience is placed in the position of a voyeur with many camera angles being shot from over the shoulder and in positions that suggestion we are watching them without their knowledge.

Also, the sounds in the sequence of slamming doors and mysterious wind are as with the genre, exaggerated to encourage tension within the minds of the audience. The situation is firstly ordinary, with the Detective walking along the street. However the plot soon reveals itself to be extraordinary with the appearance of a mysterious man and a dead body. Also sticking to the common conventions of thrillers, the theme of identity is clear - we do not initially know who any of the characters are - in fact, the audience is not even aware that the man is a detective apart from subtle indicators of the mise-en-scene of his costume. It starts with an enigma as an opening.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Differences between Horror and Thriller Genres - Horror


  • Has more gore with a main intent of frightening/scaring the audience. 
  • Women are often seen as victims and weaker than other characters. 
  • Has a predictable narrative and the main entity to fear is known to the audience and will use different weapons to add to the shock effect. 
  • Has a younger, better looking cast often not very well known actors.
  • Suburban setting, often literally in the middle of nowhere with adults/authority that are either absent or very unhelpful. Victims sometimes a group of friends who get killed off one by one and the audience can guess who will die first and who will survive in the end. 

Conventions of a Thriller

The following are the conventions of a Thriller genre film:

  • Exaggerated sound effects and music that builds suspense.
  • Ambiguous plot/characters cause questions to arise in the mind of the audience.
  • The narrative focus is often that of a crime.
  • The editing is often more experimental than other genres, e.g. parallel editing, non-linear and montage.
  • The film contains plot twists and mind games, psychological. Gets into the mind.
  • The government often play a part in the background of hybrid genre action thrillers.
  • Main characters are binary opposites, the protagonist and antagonist are very different in certain ways.
  • The protagonist is often seen in times of peril and have a weakness which is exploited by the antagonist - which is sometimes referred to into the title of the film. Also, the protagonist is isolated be it literally or metaphorically.  
  • The film has recurring themes of mirroring, illusions and mistaken identity. 
  • Women are often objectified.
  • The audience become a voyeur. 
  • Plot is sometimes not underlined and is mysterious, plot only comes together towards the end.

Thursday, 6 January 2011