Media Case Study
By Richard Harrison
For my research into the different aspects of the thriller genre, I
have decided to watch the opening to 4 thriller ﬁlms. I will watch
the ﬁrst 5-6 minutes of the ﬁlm (I may watch a bit more if the
titles are very long at the start), as this is the part where they set
the scene, so you can tell what the ﬁlm is about i.e. If it is a
horror it will show an isolated area, if a crime drama it will have
a city or built up area.
The ﬁlms that I have chosen to
write about are Hannibal Rising,
Lucky Number Slevin, The Number
23 and V for Vendetta
With each ﬁlm I will talk about them in 5 sections
Institutions, Audience, Technology, Codes/forms and
Conventions of the thriller genre, and Representation. I will
go into detail about each sections using PEE (Point,
The institutions is the information about the Director, Production Company, Release Date, Box
Ofﬁce Returns, Etc. I have gathered all the information I need from the internet, because of it is
quicker and easier and I have collected the information below from the website IMDb.
Webber has had a good career as a director, directing TV shows such as Six
Under and Men Only, in 2007 he ﬁnally got his ﬁrst ﬁlm directing job with
Hannibal Rising. Webber would have had a difﬁcult time directing this ﬁlm as he
would have been trying to out do the sequels, that had received countless amount
of awards and nominations.
Was the screenwriter and the writer of the novels to the Hannibal story, as well as
Webber, Harris too would have been trying to recreate the horror in the story and
to get the effect of thrill that was in the book. Harris would have also have been
trying to improve on the story by removing the parts that he didnʼt like.
The ﬁlm had several production companies that helped with the funds of the ﬁlm, they where:
• Young Hannibal Productions
• Carthago Films S.a.r.l.
• Dino De Laurentiis Company
• ETIC Films
• Ingenious Film Partners
• Quinta Communications
• Zephyr Films
One thing that I found strange was that the Young Hannibal Productions was created just for that
film not spreading into theater productions of Hannibal. The other companies however are all fairly
large making such films as Hot Fuzz and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
The genre of the ﬁlm is Crime/Thriller, which I found surprising as the poster gives the impression
of it being a horror.
9th February 2007
Country of Making
Due to the ﬁlm being set during World War 2, and that Hannibal is German the ﬁlm would be set in
Germany, however it is not the ﬁlm was ﬁlmed in the UK, Czech Republic, France and Italy.
I have split the Money section into two sections Budget and Gross, I have done this so that I can
see if they have made a proﬁt or a loss.
The budget of the ﬁlm was estimated at $50 million, when Silence of the Lambs was only $22
million, but still managed to get 5 Oscars. The high budget tells me that the film was predicted for
The gross for worldwide was $82,169,884, only making a profit of $32,169,884, is this really a
profit? I believe from this that the film was expected to do better, this could be to do with less
people going to the cinemas, however there is signs of an increase so this is probably not the
reason that it didn’t get the expected profit.
In this audience section I will go through the intended audience and the reception that the ﬁlm
received and to help with us I will be using ratings and user comments from IMDb.
From the information that I have looked at I believe that the main intended audience would be the
people that had watched the sequels and wish to ﬁnd not how the boy turned itto the beast. Also to
ﬁnd out any unanswered questions that where raised in the ﬁlms.
I believe that the makers of the ﬁlm probably didnʼt do much audience research as they thought
that they had a clear idea of what would happen in the ﬁlm, as they had the book. The same way
that they make the Harry Potter ﬁlms, straight from the books but changing a few parts.
If there was a speciﬁc audience that they where going for it would be for people that have an
interest in the crime, horror and thriller genre. The age of the audience that they where trying to
entice to watch the movie where from the ages of 20-35, as this was the age of when Hannibal
Lector was known to all.
From the website IMDb I can assume that this ﬁlm didnʼt appeal to the targeted audience. I get this
impression from the average rating system 1-10, 1 being bad and 10 excellent, the ﬁlm got a low
score of 6, showing its unpopularity with the audience, it has even gone down by 37% in
On the IMDb comment section a user by msamet gave the ﬁlm 1 out of 10 with the subject title
“Offensively Bad”, this is a statement at how much the ﬁlm was a failure from the previous ﬁlms. My
impression of how much a disaster this ﬁlm is keeps Increasing, with comment like “that's two
hours of my life and $6 I'll never get back”, “murder after pointless murder after pointless murder,
with no element of suspense or plot tension”. Criticisms like this are thoughout each comment,
giving any person that reads these the negative view of the movie.
However there are some comments from egodominustuus give the ﬁlm a 8 out of 10, giving a little
hope for the ﬁlm. As I scrolled though the lines the comment is ﬁlled with positive comments, “I felt
this movie was made to have people understand how Lecter, "the monster" was created.” This
comment didnʼt give a me a positive view, but it gave the view of the ﬁlm just being made to show
the story not to entertain and thriller the audience.
From the comments and the rating I can assume that the audience didnʼt respond to the movie, as
it left them bored and wanting there money back or feeling that it just did its purpose, to explain
why Hannibal turned in to the monster.
In this section I will talk about how the technology has increased the audiences knowledge and
access of the ﬁlm.
The audiences knowledge
In the old war ﬁlms the only way that the audiences knew that a character had been shot was if they
had either gone limp or heard a gun ﬁre, but due to the massive jump in technology the editors are
able to add sound effects or showing little explosions in the ground from overﬂying planes.
In Hannibal Rising when the father is getting shot by a
plane overhead they have put in tiny explosions in the
grass and ﬂashes of light from the plane. They have also
put in some very effective explosions in the back of the
father coat, Iʼm not to sure how they have done this but I
believe it was by using a CGI software,
as putting actual explosive in the
characters jacket would be extremely Plane ﬁring at the farther
With the advances in technology it is easier to add special
effects, this done in the opening of the ﬁlm. There is a shot of
the army troops moving along the roads as the camera starts to
pan up as it does three plane swoop into the picture. This has
improved the audiences knowledge by setting the time plane
period by the type of the plane, also that the area is unsafe
because of the ﬁghter planes in the air.
When it comes to the audiences way of watching the ﬁlm there are countless ways thanks to
technology. The audience could watch the ﬁlm on DVD, Blu-ray or VHS by easily renting or
purchasing the movie. A popular way of renting the movies is by the internet thanks to Loveﬁlm or
Amazon, they have started to let you watch it online, which I believe will get very popular. This is
mainly due to the way that internet is everywhere on the phone, MP3 players, etc.
With the tiny increase in going to the cinema it has become even harder to entice the audience to
go to the cinema, that is why the trailer makers put all the best parts of the ﬁlm into the trailer this is
the best way to entice them to watch it.
Codes/Forms & Conventions of the Thriller Genre
For this section I am going to go through a wide range of techniques that give a purpose and an
effect to the thriller genre.
During the opening there are scenes of a
peaceful forest and of wildlife, then a mist rolls,
this could be hinting at the change to come i.e
the loving boy is the woods and the mist is the
person he is yet to become creeping into his life.
I am more sure of this theory when the titles fade
into a scene showing the mist.
Another pathetic fallacy could be when the two children are playing at the docks showing a
peaceful time, there is a loud bang maybe a bomb dropping, this could be the way hinting at the
trouble yet to come with the murder of his family and friends.
Throughout the ﬁrst couple of seconds there are scenes of forests,
giving the impression that the area is very dense with wildlife, making
it seem peaceful and relaxed. You feel more calm when the camera
does a reverse birds eye view and starts to move slowly round,
making you feel that you are there, if it follows the conventions of the
thriller it will soon have something that will make you jump.
At 1:08 there is a great use of mise-en-scene, it
show the two child characters playing and the
reﬂection in the water of the castle, gives the a
peaceful atmosphere to the area and the children
playing by the waters edge.
After the children have run home there is the
noise of a plane overhead as the camera does a
quick pan to the left to follow it the palace and the
date fades in. The title say Lector Castle,
Lithuania, setting the area close to Russia and
very close to Germany. The date reads 1944 being set at
World War 2, so the area would be a very dangerous place
to be for Jewish and non-nazi people
However later on there is an even better piece of mise-en-
scene with the atmosphere towards the house. When the
shot of the house starts you know that something bad will
happen there, I get this impression with how itʼs isolated in
the forest and how half of the house is in shadow setting it
as a place of danger.
Even the camera shot gives the impression of danger,
because of the camera being at a high angle and the silhouette of the tree and the people, framing
it in darkness.
Codes/Forms & Conventions of the Thriller Genre
At the opening of the ﬁlm there are many non-diegetic sounds, one is of peaceful church music, this
is played over the wood to give the calm affect. There is a shot of the forest and the title appears, as
it does there is a breathing sound as if a person is taking their ﬁrst breath. This could be hinting at
the change coming to Hannibal, I assume this because of the titles saying Hannibal Rising, again
indicating the change.
The church music continues though the opening, until there is a scene of the army going across the
roads, this could be symbolising how peaceful the family is, and how harsh and cruel the military
There is a change of scene where a local commander shouts some orders “….get the peasant...”
when the local man has the person the music goes very into harsh violin noises giving the sense
that something bad is going to happen to the peasant.
The start of the ﬁlm there is not so much diegetic sound as much of saying “we have to go.” The
army are the ﬁrst to have a real conversation to show the harshness to Jews and Gypsies, this is
shown by the commander towards a Jewish cook “How can I eat your food, your a Jew” showing
how unkind they are. The commander passes the prisoners over to the local Nazis to see how they
treat them, the local commander tells a couple of the guards to shoot the cook. Thereʼs a bang and
a little later the two guards come back looking pleased and high-ﬁveing each other for killing him,
The opening to the ﬁlm does follow some of the conventions of a thriller
The poster for example gives the impression of the ﬁlm being a horror by
having darkness in the picture, however yet a little misleading as it is a
crime thriller. Other thrillers do this such as Batman, The Happening, etc.
Another convention that you always see in horror is the area of where the
trouble will happen seems to be isolated and to have a spooky shade
over it i.e the cottage that they stay at.
The title scene holds a large amount of convention, with the spooky mist hinting at a change and
how the title slowly appear with the breathing noise, all adding to my suspicion of change in the
future of the ﬁlm.
When the movie introduce the army characters they use the harsh sound of the violin, giving the
impression of the army as being the villains of the ﬁlm which we later ﬁnd out is right. The criminals
in all the thriller ﬁlms seem to have the ʻyou cant touch meʼ approach, it is the same with Hannibal
Rising with the local army group as they all give out that sense. Giving the criminal the feared
approach, that is always needed in a good thriller.
For this section I will talk about how people are stereotyped in the ﬁlm, going from females to
the ethnic minority.
The mother in this ﬁlm is represent as the stereotypical woman of the 1940s, this
is shown when she had to collect all of her jewelry before ﬂeeing the castle for
the cottage. As Iʼm sure it was the same in Lithuania, women of England thought
that their appearance was everything, so a woman without her treasures would
be considered as poor.
The women is also given the stereotypical,
helplessness effect by having to be protected by the old
man that was also getting ﬁred at by the plane.
Representing the women as weak and unable to protect
The representation of the women in this way was
probably the best way to achieve realism to the movie
as you where less likely to get crime ﬁghting ninja
woman in the 40s.
The children of the ﬁlm are shown to be care free and do
not really understand that their area is being ﬂooded by
Germans. They could have been shown to be care free to
give more of a dramatic effect when he turns into the
The father on the other hand is shown to have the understanding of what is
really going to happen if they stay at the castle, shown by how he is
hurrying them to get out the house.
He is also shown to be a stereotypical hero in the thriller ﬁlm by
running to the children's rescue, even though he didnʼt survive, he is
represented as a caring parent. This was done to make the change
that is to happen to Hannibal even more thrilling.
The army people go
stereotypical view, as
being tidy and smart,
as you can see the local army people to the left
are shown to be wearing tattered and dirty
clothes, however this is not a bad thing as it
gives them the impression of being local thugs,
and not ones to get on the wrong side of.
The red eye could be symbolising
that the character is evil, or that he is
in love. However I believe that it is
more to do with symbolising the
danger of the person, I assume this
as the character is staring directly
towards the viewer.
The mask is audience the
used to hide impression that
half of his the character is
face to seeking revenge
create an for something
array of but then
mystery continues even
about the though the
character. vendetta has
It could also been achieved.
be used to
scars of the
V in V for
around the photo
could be to
past of the
assume that the
character has a
The rising part in the title suggests that the ﬁlm is about following a
characters life. However the titles have what looks like blood in them,
this suggesting that the ﬁlm is following the life of a killer.