Typical Thriller Film ConventionsPresentation Transcript
Most of the films I've studied have seemed to have their credits done over a black screen with some non diegetic music playing in the background to set the scene. It is also common for some films to start with a particular event before titles start to show, my examples include Terminator 2(T2), Kill Bill (KB) and The Departed (TD) which all before beginning show you a clip of what probably the film will be about. Another convention of titles is that usually the most important film companies or actors in the film are shown first in the credits.
Tracking and Pan shots is what’s commonly used in the beginning of thriller films, particularly a certain group of people who we should be interested in as the audience. An example is the bank heist scene in The Dark Knight(DK) where the camera tracks the group at certain points. Zooming in and out was a rarity that was only seen in DK during an action scene.
The most typical shot used in thriller films seems to be the close up, greatly used in both films Se7en and Kill Bill vol 1 to build suspense and mystery in the beginning. Long shots have also been a commonality among thriller films being used in both DK and T2 to set the scene and show the audience where the action will be taking place in the upcoming events of the film.
Things that seem to be quite common are the low levels of framing and the high angles at certain points, the high angle is used mainly to show those in a powerful position but they might also be used such as in T2 with the first arrival of the terminator shown to be in control and having most of the power. There seems to be a main character(s) in the beginning which seems to have the majority of power and this is shown through the camera angles.
The general location used in the thriller movies I've studied depends on the story of the movie themselves but also due to the difference in locations. Lighting is a key aspect used in most of the films such as T2, KB and se7en where they all use lighting but for different reasons, while trying to set up a particular overriding tone or atmosphere for the upcoming film. Such as T2 using lighting with machinery to set a Sci-Fi thriller theme.
Jump cuts become a commonality during thriller films as they were used in two of my films, both T2 and DK. This is usually because multiple things are happening that we’re unaware of and the jump cuts fill us in, they allow us as the audience to make assumptions on what the story or characters will be like. While the jump cuts are built up in both DK and T2 they eventually draw to a close, however the cutting rate seems to increase which ultimately seems to lead to a miniature climax of the introduction.
All the films analysed had non diegetic music playing in the background creating a sound bridge to create a certain atmosphere. Some films such as DK or KB use dialogue, even if not that much - this usually gives us an insight to the characters motives or their relationships with other characters in the film. Silence and sonic exaggeration are 2 techniques used in both DK and T2, This is very thought provoking and does well to build up tension, which seems to be a strong convention for thriller films.
The intro is our first introduction to a character(s) so they normally tend to be in the middle of the frame, this is the case for KB and T2. Their movement however seems to be very dependent on the situation they’re in at the time, while some like in T2 and DK seem to be quite organised in what they’re doing so their movement seems to be quite co-ordinated although sometimes erratic. A characters movement usually tells us something about the person, and through the movies analysed so I can see some move frantically while others are slow and calculated. So it seems a convention for their to be two different groups with two different movement patterns.