A Thriller is a type of fiction that attempts to “thrill” its audience, It places its characters at great risk. There is a constant unease throughout the story which makes the narrative suspenseful to the reader by creating a tense atmosphere.
There is more than one type of thriller for example: psychological thrillers, Action thrillers, Erotic thrillers, and supernatural thrillers
WHAT ARE THE GENERIC CONVENTIONS OF THRILLERS?
A generic convention is all the things which can be associated with thrillers. For example in Sci- Fi thrillers it is usual that there are aliens, scientists and it is set in the future.
WHAT THEMES AND CONTENT MIGHT BE PRESENT IN A THRILLER?
In thrillers they use action, resourceful heroes, cliff-hangers and suspense.
Thrillers often are set in exotic locations such as the high seas
The normal thriller “protagonist” is a man used to danger such as soldiers, and spies etc.. However quite often the protagonist is an innocent person who is not trained to defeat the antagonist, this makes it more thrilling!
Usually the storyline includes an antagonist such as an alien, zombie or more realistically a mass murder or someone suffering with a mental disorder
Themes consistently used in thrillers are usually death/murder, stalking and rape.
Examples of Thrillers
Police constable Crane is dispatched by his superiors to the upstate village of Sleepy Hollow. He investigates a series of brutal murders in which all the victims have been found headless. Crane arrives only to be informed by the town's elders that the murderer is not a living human, but a headless horseman from beyond the grave who only rides at night.
Crane does not believe them and begins his own investigation, until he witnesses the Headless Horseman in the act. Staying in a room at the home of the town's richest family. Crane develops an attraction to their daughter, the mysterious Katrina.
Crane explores the mystery with the the orphaned Young Masbeth, whose father was one of the Horseman's Victims, Crane, whilst venturing in the woods, discovers both the Horseman's entry point between this world and the beyond, the Tree of the Dead, and his grave.
He finds the Horseman's skull is missing and Crane discovers a plot for revenge and land rights with the Horseman controlled by Katrina's stepmother, Lady Van Tassel, who sends the killer after her. Crane thwarts Lady Van Tassel by returning the skull to the Horseman, who regains his head and heads back to Hell. His job in Sleepy Hollow over, Crane, Katrina and Young Masbeth return to New York, in time for the new century.
Sleepy Hollow is a period Thriller/ Horror film. It was directed by Tim Burton in 1999 and distributed by Paramount Pictures.
This film fulfils the generic conventions of a Thriller because there is an Antagonist ( Headless Horseman) and a protagonist ( Crane). There a sudden actions and movements which generate shocks. Also the movie doesn’t show you every little detail, this forces the audience to image some of the things.
Why do we like Thrillers ?
They leave you hanging on the edge of your seat and people enjoy the thrill.
I personally like them because they stimulate my brain and make me curious.
They attract both men and women usually over the age of 15. This is because people younger can get scared and can give young children nightmares.
Sleepy Hollow is mainly aimed at an audience who is 16 or older. This is because there is quite a complicated twist to solving how to stop the headless horseman. I don’t think anyone younger would understand it.
Ideas for the beginning of a thriller
I have had the idea of a lady walking to the train station, it is dark and raining and the shot would follow her walking but flick back to a man watching her. When she reached the station all the lights would go out and the last frame would be the mans eyes.