Film trailer woman in black textual analysis


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Film trailer woman in black textual analysis

  1. 1. Textual AnalysisFilm TrailerWoman in BlackCharlotte Page
  2. 2. Aims & Objectives of Trailers• A trailer is a form of advertising in which the purpose is to promote a new film to potential audiences and aims to encourage people to buy the film or see it at the cinema.• The genre of a film is often represented in a trailer through the elements of mise-en-scene and cinematography techniques. For example, the editing in a horror film is likely to be fast paced and include camera shots such as extreme close ups, yet these elements are not likely to be found in a film from the romantic genre.• Similarly, the choice of actors in a trailer can also represent the target audience of a film giving them something to relate to as well as providing a form of escapism as suggested in the Uses and Gratifications Theory by Blumler and Katz.• The actors themselves can emphasise the genre if they are known for a particular genre of film. For example, actor Jim Carey is known for playing a role in comedies.• Trailers will often have a unique selling point (USP) to help it appear different from others of the same genre. This helps to attract audiences because a new release will appear different from previous trailers audiences may have seen before. Trailers will often create enigma to entice audiences through mystery.
  3. 3. The Woman in Black Trailer• The Woman in Black (2012) is a film from the horror/thriller genre directed by James Watkins. The film features Daniel Radcliffe, Ciarán Hinds, and Janet McTee.• Originally a novel, the story of The Woman in Black was performed as a play, followed by the 2012 film adaptation.• The opening credits of the Woman in Black trailer reveals that Cross Creek Pictures produce the film and CBS are responsible for the distribution. Cross Creek pictures are known for their production of horror films including Bone Shaker, Black Swan, and Clown. Similarly, director James Watkins is also known for writing and directing other horror films including My Little Eye and Eden Lake.
  4. 4. Narrative• The opening of the trailer introduces an audience to the setting through a series of point of view shots. By doing this the audience feel more involved in the narrative as it feels like they too are stepping into the Victorian house which appears dark, dusty, and includes old furniture and children’s toys.• The trailer has a child voice over narrating which connotes an idea of innocence and purity through its nursery rhyme feel however the topic she discusses is quite sinister when played along with images from the trailer. This creates an uneasy atmosphere for an audience and highlights the horror genre.• The narrator tells a poem which ‘she’ is constantly repeated, this adds to the sense of unease as it is ambiguous who the voice over is talking about.
  5. 5. • The poem that the voice over tells in the trailer implies that the male character is the victim which suggests The Woman in Black goes against typical conventions as often in horror films, females play the role of the victim whilst males are usually the villain.• The voice over sets the scene for an audience by introducing the storyline which leads to the introduction of the main protagonist, Arthur Kipps. When this character is introduced, he appears uncomfortable from his body language which is something an audience can relate to as like him, they are unaware of what will happen.• Todorov’s narrative structure can be applied to the trailer as the opening scenes are calm and balanced where the children’s toys and tea party is shown. However when the Woman in Black is first sighted, disruption occurs as the trailer soon becomes fast paced and the change in the weather adds to the negative atmosphere. The disruption increases as the trailer progresses and the audience does not see the new equilibrium as this will make them curious to know what happens.
  6. 6. Camerawork Close-UpsThe opening of the Woman in Black trailer usesseveral close ups of toys with each of themfitting to the rule of thirds.The eyes of these toys each fit the rule of thirdsgrid which makes an audience eyes go straightto this point when they first see them. Thisallows an audience to gain a more personalconnection but also makes them feeluncomfortable.By using a close ups to display these toyscreates a sense of unease for a consumer asthere is nothing else for them to look at as theyare the only thing in focus.The choice of using toys creates a feeling ofinnocence and purity as they are oftenassociated with childhood however theappearance of the toys is quite unexpected asthey are displayed in an opposite way to whatan audience expects and as a result creates asinister atmosphere.
  7. 7. Long Shots• The trailer introduces the setting through the use of long shots.• In the first long shot, an audience can see that the from the greyness of picture that the atmosphere is dull and gloomy.• This can be thought to set the tone of the film as being quite dark. This is particularly shown through the cross, this is an example of dramatic irony as the cross being in focus highlights the theme of death to the audience which the character is unaware of.• Also, the surroundings appear abandoned and isolated suggesting that the character is trapped and alone.• This creates a sense of fear as it foreshadows the characters entrapment in the house and that no-one will hear if help is needed.• These shots also highlight the Victorian time period through the horse and carriage and the house showing how the setting is old and perhaps holds memories or secrets.
  8. 8. High Angle Shots • The trailer uses high angle shots to show how the main character is powerless and vulnerable. • This is shown through an establishing shot as this highlights how small he is compared to his surroundings whilst also emphasising how deserted the setting is. • This is dramatic irony as the audience can see that something will happen that the character is unaware of. • Similarly, when he enter the house, he again looks small through the use of a high angle shot portrayed how he is weaker and more vulnerable. • The second shot could also be considered as a point a view shot as from an audience’s perspective it appears that they are the ones standing at the top of the stairs which not only makes them feel more involved but like they have a sense of power.
  9. 9. Editing• Towards the end of the trailer, the editing uses quick, fast cuts to help build tension.• As these cuts are quick, it makes the reader question what it is that they have just seen. This encourages an audience to go and watch the film whilst also creating a sense of fear.• For example, multiple scenes are put together with a black out in between, this makes the trailer continuous and flows well.• Parallel editing is also used. Different things are happening in house at the same time.• For example, the toys are moving in one room, the children’s tea party and the protagonist travelling to the house.• This shows that eventually all of these elements will meet so foreshadows that something will happen.
  10. 10. • Cross-cutting is also used in the trailer. This is where scenes are shown in a non- chronological order to show the most exciting scenes in the trailer.• In this trailer, the more exciting scenes are shown towards the end which this helps to attract an audience and entice people to watch the film as as the most memorable scenes are left until last.
  11. 11. Sound Children’s Music Box• The trailer uses the tune of a children’s music box for incidental music throughout. The music would normally be associated with children and this connotes the idea of innocence and purity however as it is quite calm and slow it creates a sense of unease.• This music is played in time with the movements of the toys. For example, on every chime, the scene will cut to the next. This happens throughout the trailer so is a constant reminder for the audience that children will play a significant role in the film.• The children’s tune is very repetitive so perhaps foreshadows that the Woman in Black is always there.
  12. 12. Diegetic Sounds• The weather is also used as part of sound. The wind, lightening and rain are used as diegetic sounds, which instantly creates a dark and gloomy atmosphere. If these sounds were played alone, an audience are most likely to know that the atmosphere is quite negative. This is suitable for this style of film as the weather is a typical convention in setting the scene in horror.• This is the only other sound played alongside the music box. The music box is associated with childhood however when played along with the weather, some of the child-like innocence is taken away which creates a feeling of unease.
  13. 13. • During the fast paced scenes at the end of the trailer, the sound is very minimal.• In these scenes, an audience would expect to hear the diegetic sounds of the fire, the rain and screaming of the characters yet the music box just continues to play.• This music box tune is asynchronous as is does not fit any of the actions of screen. This makes an audience feel quite uncomfortable as what they are seeing and what they are hearing are two different things. Therefore, an audience is encouraged to use their imagination to think about what is on screen.• Silence is also used at the beginning and at the end of the trailer. This builds tension at the start and shows at the end how the scene is still quite tense. Todorov’s narrative structure can be applied to this as the silences show how there is not an equilibrium. Silences also encourage audiences to use their imagination.
  14. 14. Mise-En-SceneSetting• The setting always appears quite dark and isolated. This creates a sense of fear as the town is abandoned meaning that the main character is distant from society.• The trailer shows bars that surround the house and bars around the houses in the village. This can connote the idea that the characters are trapped as a prison like feel is created. Similarly, the bars in front of the children highlight how they too are trapped by the Woman in Black as they play a main role.• The forest is also used as a setting which is another typical convention of horror films. The trees surround the main character and this emphasises his entrapment.
  15. 15. Colour & Lighting• The colours used are very dark, particularly black has been used throughout and this portrays a sense of danger and is often associated with death, with is appropriate for the films storyline.• The colour of the character’s costumes are often quite pale which could suggest how they are becoming distant, and ghost-like which is relevant to the ghost story. The main character however, stands out as he is dressed all in black showing how he is an outsider.• The lighting used is also very dark and this connotes the idea of the unknown as the audience and characters in the film are unable to see whats could be coming.• Similarly, the dark lighting is suitable for the horror genre as it adds to the gloomy, negative atmosphere.
  16. 16. Mode of Address• Even though the trailer does not show a release date, by saying “Coming Soon” suggests that the film is something that audiences need to start looking for.• The trailer talks to the target audience by using their website and twitter account as a synergistic technique.• This form of advertising is relevant to the target audience as it can help people to raise awareness of the film through social networking. Also, with twitter if people start talking about the film, this all helps the promotion and raising awareness of the film.
  17. 17. Barthe’s Enigma Theory• The purpose of a trailer is to create mystery surrounding the films release and this theory can be applied to the Woman in Black trailer as mystery is created throughout.• Firstly, who the Woman in Black is or why she is important is not revealed in the trailer therefore an enigma is instantly created as audiences have questions about her.• Similarly, from the trailer it is unclear why the main protagonist, Arthur Kipps as no link is revealed between him and the Woman in Black.• Photos of a family are repeated throughout the trailer with their eyes scratched and again, this creates mystery as their history or significance to the film is unknown and why their picture has been vandalised is unclear.• All of these factors help to contribute to enticing an audience to watch the film as they will have questions that need to be answered.
  18. 18. Influences• From this trailer we have been inspired to use toys in our trailer as usually toys are associated with childhood and happiness so it will be interesting to use them in a way that the audience unexpect.• We have been influenced by the Woman in Black trailer to include point of view shots as this allows an audience to take the position of the character which not only makes them feel involved but share the emotions and feelings of the character.• With the editing, the quick cuts create tension and create a countdown effect as this transitions are building up to something that will make the audience jump. We think this is successful as it makes audiences feel uneasy which is expected of the horror genre. Fast cuts were also popular in our questionnaire so this needs to be something that we consider using.• This trailer does not use any dialogue, only diegetic and incidental sounds so this encourages audiences to use their imagination. This is something that we are considering to use in our trailer as sometimes using your imagination is more powerful than seeing or being told information.