Horror Movie Trailer Analysis – The Woman in Black http://youtu.be/dPYMUnJGURI
Titles AnalysisThe Woman in Black
The trailer begins with two production company names, with smokebehind the text. It then cuts to a train with smoke coming out of thetop. The smoke behind the production company text helps to linkthese two shots together. The smoke could be intertextuallyreferencing Harry Potter and the Hogwarts train, especially as DanielRadcliffe stars in both of these films. By showing the productioncompany names, the trailer is making it obvious to the audiencestraight away which companies are involved.
At 0.51s a black screen with a small amount of smoke is thebackground to white text which reads “THE MOST CHILLINGGHOST STORY OF OUR TIME”. The text doesn’t have any particulareffect added to it, it is pretty basic. This keeps the look simple yetlooks effective. By using white text on the black background it makesthe text easy to read and also fits in with the genre of the film. Theblack and white together connote death, and puts fear into theaudience.
Just over halfway through the trailer a close-up shot of DanielRadcliffe is followed again by the black screen with some smoke andwhite text which says “DANIEL RADCLIFFE” this lets the audienceknow who this actor is. It is also used as star persona to helppromote the film as Daniel Radcliffe is extremely famous for his rolein the Harry Potter sequels.
In a space of around 5 seconds, there are 3 different title’s given.One saying “FEAR” followed by an image from the film. Anotherstraight after this saying “HER” which is again, followed by a differentclip from the film. The final one is straight after this and reads“CURSE”. This direct address encourages the audience to getinvolved with the trailer by putting these words together themselves itcreates a sense of fear. Each of these title pages are following thetheme of a black background with white text. However, the font isslightly eroded to fit in with the genre and to make the text look a bitmore enigmatic. These colours connote death, pain, and fear.
At the end of the trailer it shows the name of the film to the audienceso that they know what it is called if they want to go and see it in thecinema, etc. Also, as it is the last thing the audience will see in thetrailer, the name is what sticks in their head. A positive about havingthe film title at the end is that if they enjoy the trailer, the audiencecan make a mental note of what it is called after seeing the trailer. Ifthey saw the name first, they could have forgotten the film title by theend of the trailer. As the text comes up, crashing noises are used tohelp make the appearance of the text seem more effective.
The film title name is following the theme of the other title pages.However, this page does have a lot more smoke in the background.Half of the title is hidden behind the smoke, but the smoke movesabout to reveal the words “THE WOMAN IN BLACK”. This screen isfollowed by another screen with the same layout but it says “February2012” to let the audience know when the film is out in cinemas forthem to watch. This shot also includes the synergy used such as theweb address for the official Woman in Black website and the logos ofthe production companies involved.
Sounds and Camera Shots and Angles Analysis The Woman in Black
The trailer starts with diegetic noises as the train goes across thescreen, we hear the train going across the tracks. We are thenintroduced to slow pace music which is a little bit spooky andenigmatic, it creates a tense atmosphere within the audience, theywonder what is going to happen in the film.This wide angle establishing shot reveals the setting. The mise-en-scene tells us that the train is in the countryside at sunrise/sunset.The train symbolises that the main character may be on a journeysomewhere. The steam train indicates that this film may be set in aprevious era.
As one of the characters is on the train we hear again more diegeticnoises, of the train moving quickly. After this shot there is a “boom”noise which links it to the next scene.As the audience is shown the setting, a harp and a piano, and themelody helps to make the audience feel tense.This close up shot reveals who the main character is. Low keylighting is used to enhance the bright lights which flash past his face.This also helps the audience to understand that he is the characterwho is on the train, yet we still do not know his destination. This shotfades into next shot.
This low angle establishing shot reveals the location of which thecharacter is heading towards. The mise-en-scene makes it obviousthat the location is derelict and looks empty. The greenery is allovergrown which again helps to indicate that this household is emptyand has been for some time.
A straight cut is used to reveal this over the shoulder shot which isback on the train. We notice that the main character is now sat withanother character who is yet to be exposed to the camera. Theconfused, worried expression on his face makes the audiencewonder what the characters are speaking of.
The 180 line rule is used to keep continuity within the shots duringthis conversation. The over the shoulder shot uncovers the unknowncharacter. We can now notice that the male character is older thanthe main character, this makes the audience wonder whatrelationship these two characters have.
These two shots use a high angle to help establish the setting. Thehigh angle is effective as we can see the location which thecharacters are travelling to. We notice that the area is empty whichhelps to further connote fear. Empty areas are a typical trope of ahorror film as they make the audience feel alone.
The wide shot of the cross is significant as it is an indexical sign ofdeath. It symbolises that someone has died here, making the areaseem more enigmatic. The close up on his face shows that he isconfused or slightly worries about something. In the extreme longshot we see both the cross and the transport together, we also noticethat the character is looking at the cross. The transport shown in thewide angle long shot confirms that the film was taken in a previousera in which maybe only the rich people owned cars.
This wide angle establishing shot reveals that the main character willbe spending his time in this run-down building. The mise-on-scene inthis shot is significant in setting the scene. The gates that were oncethere for security seem to have been forced and broken. Thegreenery is over grown, the house looks old and untidy. This makesthe audience wonder why this place had been abandoned.
When he enters the abandoned house the music is deep but quietand low key lighting it used to help set the scene.As the main character comes through the front door in this high angleextreme long shot, we see the interior setting of the house. We noticethat the inside of the house is just as neglected as the outside. Thecolours used are oligochromatic, this makes the scene look moreenigmatic. It appears as if there is dust everywhere, symbolising thatnobody has been here for a long time.
This wide establishing shot pans around room to show the audiencewhat details are in the room. As the camera pans, the angle getshigher to show different aspects of what the room looks like. Theaudience will notice that things are covered in dust cloths. Thismakes the audience wonder why.
The use of chiaroscuro lighting in the mid shot makes the room seemeven more enigmatic, the silhouette of the main character makes itseem as if he is not meant to be there. Again, the mise-en-scene isvery important in this wide angle shot as we notice thatstill, everything is dark and covered in dust.
In these shots the main character notices a small enigmatic objectand bends down to look at it. This creates suspicion and tensionwithin the audience as they feel something might happen to makethem feel scared. It is not obvious to the audience what this objectis, so they are just as drawn to it as the main character is.
As he spins the zoetrope around it makes a flickering noise (foleysound). As the boy’s face appears between the holes in thezoetrope, the sound effects are used to make a high pitched crashingnoise which makes the audience more jumpy about what ishappening.The first extreme close-up shot reveals that the object is used toshow/tell a story about this particular image traced on the inside. Asthe object spins, the audience builds up tension to find that a smallchild’s face pops up in between the moving images. This not onlymakes the audience jump, but scares the main character too. As heleaps up to see who this enigmatic figure is, they are suddenly notthere. This marks the beginning of the events of the trailer/film. It alsoposes questions for the audience, who is this figure and why werethey there?
The close up of the characters face reveals that he is worried on feelconcerned about something. He is in distress about the situation andwonders who the enigmatic figure was. The fear on his face makesthe audience feel fearful too.
This mid shot, two shot focuses on the fact that he is being comfortedby this female character. We do not know who this woman is, orwhere the setting is. Again the mise-en-scene helps to keep with thecontinuity of the era in which they are living.
This close up shot plays a trick on the audience as they believe thatthe focus is on the main characters concerned face. Whereas if youlook carefully you can see the Woman in Black stood behind him.This creates an omniscient narrative as the audience now know morethan the main character does.
This mid shot establishes that the main character felt as if he wasbeing watched, but as he turned around to see, the Woman in Blackhad disappeared. This would make the audience feel as if she isgoing to appear again, and wonder what she is planning on doing.
The black crow is symbolic of death, which is an element and a tropeof the horror genre convention. This makes the audience wonderwhat is going to happen, and to whom. The black crow may put fearinto some of the audience as they are aware of what black crowstend to symbolise.
As more of the storyline is revealed there are fast moving images andnoises of people screaming in the village after a fire in one of thehouses. By taking the images on and off the screen quickly it adds tothe tension and fear that the audience may be feeling.After this scene is shown the music is quieter to make the audiencefeel more calm and so that they can take in and think about theimages and sounds they have seen.The first wide angle mid shot emphasises the expression on thecharacter’s faces. We see that the woman is being held back and isscreaming. A straight cut is used to reveal the action which is takingplace. The smoke is indexical of a fire, so we know that there isdanger and that something bad must have happened. Theexpression on the main character’s face show that he is in shock ofwhat’s happening.
This extreme close up focuses on the child’s foot which appears tohave crushed a doll’s head. This insinuates that the child may befeeling anger, or is possessed by the Woman in Black.
The first wide angle mid shot shows three younger femalecharacters. By using children, it helps to show the vulnerability of thevictims, they look innocent but the expressions on their faces makesit seem as if they are planning something evil, or that they arepossessed. This makes the audience feel sorry for them as theyknow that they cannot protect themselves at that age.
The use of an over the shoulder shot allows the audience to see thatthe characters in the background are angry and disappointed with thetwo main characters. The most significant character in this crowdsays “You should have left when we told you to!”. This symbolises tothe audience that they have caused trouble, and anger within thevillage.
The use of the wide shot and the low key lighting makes the shotseem enigmatic to the audience. The chiaroscuro lighting makes thereturn of the Woman in Black and the three children seem moremysterious, as they have supposedly returned from the dead. Thefact that the Woman in Black is stood behind them, makes it seem asif she is controlling them with her power.
The use of a wide angle mid shot enhances the setting of thischaracter. The sounds of thunder and the rain and lightening makethe whole setting seem more enigmatic and helps to keep theaudience on edge. Horrible weather is often a trope of the horrorfilms. As the lightening strikes he steps back as if something is afterhim. His expression is another indicator that something is after him.
This high angle extreme long shot reveals the next part of thestoryline. We see a child figure appearing from out of the mud by thecross, which we originally saw at the beginning of the trailer. Thisshot connotes death, and fear. It also symbolises that this child hascome back from the dead for a reason, this makes the audience feellike the child has come back for the main character. When theimages begin to move faster again, the music speeds up andlightening like noises are made to help set the scene.
This low angle mid shot shows that the character has run back intothe house for safety. Houses commonly denote the feeling of safety.
This high angle long shot shows that the character has entered thehouse and is thinking of what he can do next. The camera pansaround to reveal that there are bloody footprints on the floor. Thismakes the audience feel tense as they know that someone is in thehouse.
This mid shot reveals that there is some form of writing underneathwhere the wallpaper is peeling off from the walls. This is often usedas a trope in horror films as the audience doesn’t know what the textwill say or who wrote it.
As the main character begins to rip the wallpaper off, we see that thewriting is written in blood which has run down the walls. The text says“you could have saved him” which makes the audience wonder whatthe storyline is behind the Woman in Black, and who it is that couldhave saved him. This text links to the small child that we previouslysaw coming up from the mud as we know that the text is about him.
When the main character lights a match in the dark (low key lighting)a face appears. To make this more effective they have added in ascreaming noise to scare the audience.A close up shot is used to show that the main character is lighting amatch to get some light in the room. However, as he lights thematch, the small child appears in front of him, screaming. The smallboy is covered in mud as that is where he was buried.
Both of these wide angle shots focus on the fact that the maincharacter is trying to escape the circumstances in which he is in. heis trying to unravel the story of why these events keep happening, butas the same time, he doesn’t want to be there anymore. This makesthe audience hopeful that he will get away from there.
These close up shots help to portray the emotions of the maincharacter. The audience notices that he is in shock of the recentevents. In both of these shots, the mise-en-scene makes him appeardefenceless and vunerable.
The close up shot on the photos show that the images are old. Thesecond photo shows a girl in the window, she has been excludedfrom the family photo. This gives away information about differentaspects of her past and explains why she might be so full of anger.
The long shot of the door reveals that the child’s hand is pressedagainst the glass pane of the door. Thus enhancing the fact that themain character is not alone, and something is after him. As the maincharacter hears the hand bang against the door, he looks up in shockand sees the hand. This also shows that the antagonists are nolonger being subtle with their actions.
The aerial shot shows that the main character has found a deadbody. However, he must have been looking for something when hecame across this. This makes the audience wonder what he waslooking for, and who is the person in the coffin.
The child in this close up shot is walking too close to the train tracksas the train approaches the station. This indicates to the audiencethat he is possessed by the Woman in Black.
The close up shots on the fire symbolises that something iswrong, and then we notice a body within the fire. As the room startsto collapse the audience feels tense as they know this figure cannotescape the fire. This makes the audience wonder if this figure isanother victim or the Woman in Black herself.
The mise-en-scene in these shots are simple yet effective. We seethat the character is alone, but the mist connotes that something orsomeone else might be there, waiting for him. Towards the end of thetrailer, bits of dialogue used in the film are played over differentimages to help describe parts of the storyline to the audience.
The wide angle shot shows that the rocking chair is moving back andforth on its own. This makes the audience feel as if someone is therewatching them. It is also enigmatic in the fact that it makes theaudience feel scared, as the main character is not alone.
This mid shot reveals that the main character is trying to fight backagainst the antagonist, he is holding an axe which means he isplanning on causing harm and inflicting pain onto someone.
The over the shoulder shot reveals that there is an enigmatic handprint on the window. The character tries to work out why it isthere, and puts his hand out to touch it. As he does this, the Womanin Black’s screaming face replaces his reflection. This makes theaudience feel scared of her as she appears in the places where youdon’t expect her to appear. The screaming helps to add to the senseof horror and makes the audience fearful of the storyline.