What is a thriller?
• Thriller, in film, is a genre that uses suspense, tension and
excitement as the main elements in a film. Thrillers heavily fuel
the audience moods by providing them a high level of
expectation, uncertainty, surprise, anxiety and/or terror. Thriller
films tend to be adrenalinerushing, gritty, rousing, suspense, action and fast-paced.
• As well as film, thriller also features in literature and television
• Thriller also illustrates crime, mystery, or espionage in an
atmosphere of excitement and suspense.
What are the different types of thriller?
Thriller is a very broad genre which collaborates in a variety of
different genre’s hence other genre’s contains elements of thriller.
The different types of thrillers that you may come across are
psychological thrillers, crime thrillers, erotic thrillers and mystery
thrillers. Another common subgenre of thriller is the spy genre
which deals with fictional espionage. Successful examples of thrillers
are the films of Alfred Hitchcock (which I will discuss about him
later on the slideshow). The horror and action genres often overlap
with the thriller genre.
What are the main themes dealt with in thrillers?
Thrillers tend to be psychological, threatening, mysterious and at times
they involve a larger-scale of villainy such as espionage, terrorism and
conspiracy. Moreover, the common themes that are often dealt with in
thrillers are ransoms, captivities, heists, revenge, kidnappings; these
themes are often involved in crime thrillers.
In mystery thrillers, the themes are investigations and also the “who
done it” technique is used as well. Furthermore, in psychological thrillers
common themes are mind games (inception a perfect
example), psychological themes, stalking, confinement/death traps and
obsession. Themes such as fringe theories, false accusations and paranoia
are common in paranoid thrillers. Lastly, themes like: threats to entire
country, spies, espionage, conspiracies, assassins and electronic
surveillance are common in spy thrillers.
Main themes continued…
The main themes that are usually seen in all kinds of thrillers are normally:
• The protagonist faces death, either his and/or her or somebody else's.
• The force of the antagonist's must initially be cleverer and/or stronger
than the protagonist's.
• The main storyline for the protagonist is either a quest or a character that
cannot be put down.
• The main plotline focuses on a mystery that must be solved.
• These are three common examples of a scene containing main themes in a
thriller: - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZxNbAwY_rk
Key characters found in a thriller
Key characters found in a thriller are: criminals, stalkers,
assassins, innocent victims (often on the run), menaced women,
characters with deep dark pasts, psychotic individuals, spree
killers, sociopaths, agents, terrorists, cops and escaped cons,
private eyes, people involved in twisted relationships, worldweary men and women, psycho-fiends and etc.
The protagonists are commonly normal citizens unaccustomed to
danger, although normally in crime thrillers, they may also be
"hard men" accustomed to danger i.e. police officers, detectives
Codes and Conventions in a thriller
• Low key lightings (represents darkness)
• Dark settings
• Sharp props i.e. knives and etc
• Quick cuts
• Tension music
Alfred Hitchcock is a well known film director and producer; Hitchcock was born
on the 13th of August in 1899 and he died on the 29 th of April in 1980.
Hitchcock is famously known for his film called “Psycho” which is a very famous
thriller film and the benchmark for horror films hence it became the defining
hallmarks of Hitchcock's new horror movie genre and have been copied by many
authors of subsequent horror films. Hitchcock interest for film started when he
became intrigued by photography and he then started working in film production
based in London, working as a title card designer for the London branch of what
would become Paramount Pictures. In 1920, he then later on received a fulltime position at Islington Studios. His rise from title designer to film director
took five years. After a successful career in British cinema, Hitchcock moved to
Hollywood in 1939 and became a U.S. citizen in 1955. The three films that
Hitchcock made which was deemed among his best movies were: North by
Northwest (1959), Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963)