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My Understanding of Thriller Genre
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My Understanding of Thriller Genre

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  • 1. Task 4: My Understanding of Thriller Genre By David James Bubb
  • 2. Objective  I have been asked to do a presentation about my understanding of thriller Genre and codes and conventions This includes researching about the different key aspects the audience would expect to see and hear.
  • 3. Definition of Thriller  A thriller is a type of genre which is aimed to promote intense excitement, suspense, twists, anxiety, and sudden shock.
  • 4. Subs & Hybrids  The thriller genre contains many different themes that represent a film, which are called sub-genres. The sub genres are the following: action thriller; psychological thriller; crime thriller; science-fiction thriller; religious thriller; horror thriller; comedy thriller; zombie thriller.  Some thrillers may include more than one sub genre in each film. This is called a Hybrid. A thriller hybrid can include action and crime, horror and comedy, or zombie and psychology.
  • 5. Thriller themes  The typical themes a thriller may include are the following: crime, police, fights, gunfights, car chases, terrorism, warfare, investigations, supernatural events, country/state forces, romance, stealth, agents, and spies.
  • 6. Narratives  Most thrillers have a similar plot which first involve everything being well balanced and then everything eventually leading to a certain type of conflict, typically caused by disagreement, debt, or hatred. Most thrillers involve certain situations where a resolution may seem impossible, for example when someone is trying to escape from a high security prison. Thrillers are similar to horror films, because they both may have some frightening scenes in their films. However, thrillers are required to keep the audience thrilled, excited, and interested and ‘out of their seats’.
  • 7. Propp (Narrative)  There are various characters which each play a different role in a film, which are the following: protagonist /hero; antagonist /villain; protagonist’s helper; protagonist’s donor; false hero; assassin; murderer; dispatcher; ; princess; princess’s father; protagonist’s mother.
  • 8. Todrov (Narrative)  There are certain sections in a thriller film which each represent different events and atmospheres happening in the film. These sections are important because thrillers need different events happening in order to change the mood of the audience. These sections are the following: equilibrium (everything is well balanced); disruption (an outbreak occurs); resolution (outcome to what has happened); restored order (story reaches a conclusion); new equilibrium (everything is well balanced again).
  • 9. Binary oppositions (Narrative)  In a thriller film, there has to be a wide variety of different characters of different sides, abilities and roles. The two most important characters required in a decent thriller film are the protagonist (main character) and the antagonist (main evil character). These are binary opposites – a pair of terms or people which are opposite in meaning. There are also other aspects which are opposite each other: good vs evil; humans vs aliens; smart vs stupid; boys vs girls; space vs earth; known vs unknown; black vs white; city vs country; land; vs sea.
  • 10. Codes & Conventions  Codes are words, signs, or symbols which represent something or someone. Conventions are certain ways in which something is done. I will now be writing about the different Codes and Conventions a thriller needs in order to make it successful. The codes and conventions in a typical thriller are the following: tension music; low key lighting; shadows; mirrors; flashbacks; black and white; quick editing; suspense; certain camera angles, shots & movements; editing techniques.
  • 11. Setting  In a thriller film, there are certain places that the audience would normally expect to see either at or near the start of the film, which are included in the following list: dessert, inner city, military base, space, space station, polar/arctic area, seas/ocean, police station, prison camp, prison-of-war camp, World War 1/2 trenches, misty areas
  • 12. Iconography  In a thriller film, there are certain things the audience would expect to see and hear either at or near the start of the film, which are the following: police uniforms, military uniforms, expensive vehicles, tension music, low key lighting, missiles, firearms, bombs, violence, jet fighters, camera movement, low camera angle, tilted camera angle handheld camera, and quick cutting.
  • 13. Mise En Scene Mirror - Black SWAN  Mirrors: This is used to show a character’s soul or inner-self. This foreshadows darkness within certain characters.  Black and White: This is when there is no colour and gives the use of shadows. This makes a thriller strange, historical, frightening, or dark.  Flashbacks: When certain past of a character gives the audience an insight of the his/her life. Flashback Bourne Ultimatum
  • 14. Mise En Scene Shadow – SE7EN  Low-Key lighting: This is when the brightness on the screen is low. This makes the thriller scary, gloomy and dark.  Shadows: These are used to make the audience think there is someone unknown.  Twist: This is used to completely change the predictions the audience might of made.
  • 15. Evaluation  When putting this presentation together, I have researched a range of different thriller codes and conventions. This has allowed me to gain knowledge that I will apply to my own Thriller Opening sequence. I have learnt that thrillers have to keep the audience engaged and on edge, and all the codes and conventions within this presentation help to create this.

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