Task 4: My
By David James Bubb
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.
Definition of Thriller
A thriller is a type of genre which is aimed to
promote intense excitement, suspense, twists,
anxiety, and sudden shock.
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;
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
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.
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’.
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.
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).
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.
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
conventions in a typical thriller are the
following: tension music; low key lighting;
shadows; mirrors; flashbacks; black and white;
quick editing; suspense; certain camera
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
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.
Mise En Scene
Mirror - Black SWAN
Mirrors: This is used to show a
character’s soul or inner-self. This
foreshadows darkness within certain
Black and White: This is when there
is no colour and gives the use of
shadows. This makes a thriller
strange, historical, frightening, or
Flashbacks: When certain past of a
character gives the audience an
insight of the his/her life.
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.
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