Costume is a big part of the visual codes, and in this trailer the
people are dressed very conventionally to the real world. They are
dressed in normal clothes, the boy in a recognisable school
uniform, like most of its target audience. This makes the trailers
more frightening because they are normal people being haunted, it
makes it much more realistic.
This red light visible to the audience is held above the child, whom
holds all the problems because he is haunted/possessed. This is a
visual code to the audience at the beginning of the film, creating
enigma’s for the audience. For example they may think that he is
The location Is in the family’s grandma’s isolated house. This visual
code makes the trailer more frightening because the audience
know that bad things are going to happen there.
A lot of diegetic noises are used in the trailer, such as the baby toys, the doors slamming, dice
moving etc. The main non-diegetic noises are the music ands ghosts whispering, it can be
argued that these are codes to the audience that things are about to get worse but the
characters do not know that.
The soundtrack is in sync with the editing, for example when the door get slammed in the
women's face the music bangs and shuddered. This removes any sense of verisimilitude for
the audience because it is a code that things are not ok.
Quite a bit of dialog is used to help the audience understand the basic storyline.
Todorovs Theory – Equilibrium—diequilibrium—renewed equilibrium
This trailers has a continued equilibrium at the end of it. This creates a huge
code to the audience suggesting that anything could happen, The characters
could either survive the haunting or die. So the equilibrium may never be
The narrative also suggests that it is a horror film, because of the normal
conventional family who then get haunted in their grandmothers house.
The action in the trailer does not begin until the mid point, after a build up of
audio music. The action is shown all together quite quickly, and this
produces a sense of tension and can frighten the audience. An action such as
a character getting strangled by be sheets is a code to show that the hosts
have arrived and the trailers has reached its ‘high point’ part.
Close ups are used of doors being closed to make the auidience feel as
though they are also locked in, locked into the film and therefore they must
go and watch it.
The pace of the editing shows how the trailers is fast moving and the
deaths of people and the haunting is quick and violent. For example
lots of quick shots are used to show the action of the haunting and
creates a lot of tension.
Not that many special effects are used, it is mainly makeup. However at
the beginning of the trailer when the women just appears on the sofa
this creates a frightening code, which is created by special effects.
The inter titles are used to explain the narrative showing the genre and
Barthes' Enigma Code is a theory that suggests a media text portrays a mystery to
draw an audience in, pose questions and, as such, become intrigued in the piece.
He can help to explain the isidiuos trailer because it leaves the auidnece haning at the
end. The trailer finishes with a ghosts screaming ‘he has your baby’ and thereofre
leaves the trailer with an enigma of ‘ who has the baby, will they get it back, does he
Other enigmas arise in the trailer because it does not explain the stroyline in detail,
and also the text raises enigma’s.
‘A bond between this world, and the next’ creates the
Enigma; what other world?
The texts are also a few seconds apart creating a lot of tension.
There are a lot of visual codes that imply that
something is not quite right in this trailer, for
example at the very beginning when the man is
walking trough the baseball match with a gun and a
bloody nose. A wide angle long shot is used to show
how different he is from everyone else in the
Visual codes such as horrific makeup on the ‘sick
people’ and ripped clothing connotate’s horror and
The audio codes in this trailer are really effective because it is not just one piece of
instrumental music the entire way through. There are sound effects which
match the tension building shots. For example, when the man in the prison
attacks the police there is a mechanical sort of sound whenever the shot
changes to increase tension.
The sound of shot guns and car’s exploding adds to the feel of the trailer.
The most effecting audio code is that sad music played toward the end of the
trailers. It creates a very emotional feel and blocks out all of the diegetic noises
that would be heard(to match the action) if the music wasn’t being played.
This creates enigmas and lets the audience imagine the action noises for
This trailer’s narrative also has a cliff hanger ending, the audience do not
find out is the equilibrium is resolved or not. This creates a horrific code
because it creates frightening enigmas.
Inter titles are used to explain how ‘neighbours and family members’ go
crazy and kill. Therefore the codes in the narrative are quite explanatory,
however the ending is not explained.
The titles at the end explain how it is only
The beginning, so the equilibrium is not solved.
Special effects are not really used in this trailer because there are not ghosts,
the narrative explains how just human beings have gone crazy.
However, inter titles are used to scare and invite the audience. For example;
this, is only, the beginning’ informs the audience that things get worse for
the characters and the trailers only shows some of what is to come( if they
watch the entire film).
Tractor coming toward girl, shot reverses to her screaming face between the
Man screaming through the bars.
Girls eyes peering through gap in wood, man running toward with gun.
These are examples of action shots within the trailer. A lot of action is used in the
trailer and is shown quite rapidly. The trailer fits in quite a lot of the action
from the film into the short trailer. This is effective because it give the
audience a small taster of a lot of action from the actual film. The action helps
to show the genre and tension of the film in the trailer.
This trailer does not display many enigma’s because much of the narative is explained very
well in the beginning.
The inter titles, ‘this, is just the beginning;’ however leaves the audience thinking that there
is more death, action, narrative. This enigma leaves them wanting to find out/watch
more of the film.
Other enigmas may be ; why have they gone crazy? Does the protagonist turn sick?
The characters and their costumes are very important. For example the
three young girls dressed in white, which shows they are innocent.
The location at the house is extremely isolated which is a key horror
theme, to make the audience feel alone too if the character is. The
quick sand type land prop also makes the house isolated, dangerous
Old, Victorian style, props and costume creates a surreal sense of
verisimilitude. The toys, for example the rocking horse which rocks, are
all old and therefore very frightening.
This long shot shows the audience how isolated the
Different types of instrumental music is used to suit each scene, for example at
the beginning a mysterious piano piece is played whilst the audience get a
brief storyline, therefore making it mysterious.
Diegetic noises such as creaking screaming and banging, creates tension and
scares the audience.
Like the other trailers, the women in black plays music in sync with the action to
create a scare factor and tension.
Sometimes, the music completely stops before a major action part is shown.
A non linear use of frames is used, because shots from the end of the film are used at the
beginning for example.
The equilibrium is disrupted when the ‘women in black’ begins to appear, and the
protagonist them states that he is not leaving, even after he knows the house is haunted
and people are dying. This new storyline (new from the narrative of him trying to sell the
house) then creates a new equilibrium.
The last audio code, which is dialog, states ‘ she’s always there’ and the women suddenly
appears and screams. This leaves the narrative on a huge enigma – will she ever leave?
Special effects are used to superimpose ghosts on the screen.
Explosions and fires are also examples of special effects used.
The shots often fade to black, this continuously introduces new elements of the film to the
audience, therefore the trailer gets scarier in every shot as there are more facts, visions,
and noises to take in.
Shots often cut back, for example when arther see’s the women’s eyes through the toy, th
shot cuts to the pub, and then back to him scared of the toy. This creates a false narative
for the sake of the trailer because it is planned like he is told by the lady in the pub about
the house, and then goes back to the toy now looking scared because of his new
knowledge. When in fact this is just for the sake of the trailer.
Action such as ripping of the wallpaper, people running and screaming, men shouting at
Arther for going to the house, the women appearing, slamming of doors etc. is all shown
at quite a fast pace.
This code shows the horror of the film and creates a lot of tension.
Because the different action shots are shown in a non linear order at a fast pace, the
audience are more and more frightened.
The protagonists constant desire to find out more about the ghost and her story is involved in the
audience. Because of the well known actor, which much of the audience ( as the film is aimed at
grown up harry potter fans) will be close to already, the audience will always be on his side and share
his suspicions. The fact that member of the village, pub lady, rich man etc are telling him not to go to
the house and to go home to his son raises the desire of the audience to find out more, creating a
At the beginning of the trailer the children are shown, the significance of them creates a mystery in itself.
The writing on the wall ‘you could have saved him’ can also raise questions.
Summery of all 3…
All three of the trailers used a similar editing technique. A fast pace, in sync with the audio,
non linear use of shots which fade to black to show new elements of the film. All 3 succeeded
in making the trailers full of action and created suspense through shot types and audio.
however, the crazies is the only trailer which uses an overlaying audio, the sad song played
over the action is an excellent way of making the audience imagine the storyline and nondiegetic noises and dialog for themselves. It is a really effective way of getting the audience
involved in a trailer using audio and enigma.
The three trailer, obviously, share the same genre and show this using similar visual, audio
and narrative codes, for example neither trailer shown a happy ending in sight.
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