Film trailer analysis


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Film trailer analysis

  1. 1. Leila Alimadadi
  2. 2. Horror The Woman in Black trailer The film trailer for ‘The Woman in Black’ follows typical conventions that are commonly used in many horror film trailers. From the moment we begin watching, it is evident that the genre of the film is horror because of the conventions that have been used. For example, the narrative of a young child holding supernatural powers is common convention of a horror film narrative, as we are left feeling feared and scared of the young child. The use of eerie/scary non diegetic music also adheres the conventions of the horror genre and fits with the haunted house location that has been used. The fact that the trailer did not use a voice over is typical of horror films as the diegetic sound of the dialogue and captions do the work in telling the story. However no copies were used in this trailer, a part from a few words such as ‘house’ to emphasis the importance of this location.
  3. 3. Cinematography: The trailer starts off with an establishing shot of the surrounding location to givethe audience a look into where the action will take place and familiarize the setting to the audiencewhen they come to watch the film in a cinema. Additionally, tracking shots are also used to give theaudience an insight of the haunted house that is the main setting of action of the film, whichenforces the feeling of anxiety and fright about this house.Throughout the trailer they are cuts between establishing shots and close ups which are importantin the genre of horror as the facial expressions of the characters are the central focus in reaction tothe setting. By using close ups to show characters’ faces, the fear and distress they feel isemphasized to the audience. Close ups are additionally used to focus on ‘scary’ objects that play arole in the actions and disruption of the film. (Disruption linking into Todorov’s theory of narrative.)Two shots are used in the trailer to display conversations that are had by the characters and areeffectively used in this trailer as we tend to hear a conversation that is followed by an insert cut ofwhat they were talking about, in this case the house and who may be in it.Editing: As a film of a horror genre, we would expect that most of the editing would have been donein the post production stage. A typical convention that has been used in the trailer is the fade outsbetween each scene to create a tense and spooky atmosphere. The use of the colour black forthese fade outs also adheres with the horror genre as it is a typical colour that is commonly usedand associated with horror. The face past editing of the shots towards the end of the trailer has beendone in order to build on the tension created through the narrative of the ghost of a young woman.
  4. 4. Sound: The overlapping of sound at the beginning of the trailer creates tension for the audience asthey are anxious to find out what that particular sound is, in this case it is ambient sound of theengine of a train along the tracks, within the field of vision. This technique is a typical conventionused in horror film trailers in order to create tension and build fear within the audience watching thetrailer. Sound is of huge importance in horror trailers as it is used to draw on the anticipation ofsomething bad about to happen and adds tension to the watching of it. In this trailer, a non diegeticsound of a nursery like song is played in the build up of the disruption, creating a tense atmospherebefore the music turns to a more series down beat rhythm that fits with what is going on in thenarrative, after the disruption has began, in this case the protagonist has learnt of the spooky eventshappening. In particular parts of the trailer where the scenes are cut through either an action ormotivated cut, the non diegetic sound stops for a few seconds before speeding up again making theaudience jump or panic as they watch. This is again typical of horror film trailers to have this jumpyaspect to them. The sound of a child’s voice is also used in the trailer which enforce the scary andeerie atmosphere created as we can hear the voice but not see the child. The use of children’svoices and nursery like music is a stereotypical convention of horror film trailers.Mise en scene: the different elements of mise en scene including location, characters and props areall evidently of the horror genre. For example, the chosen setting of the isolated surroundings and thescary/haunted house are stereotypically associated with horror and scary films. The overall feel ofthe trailer connotes old age, death and fear which has been effectively portrayed through eachelements of mise en scene. Symbols such as the The Cross are typically associated with the genreof horror. The use of dark colours and shadowing of figures and objects creates a tense and spookyatmosphere. In addition, the stormy like weather is also a typical convention of horror films that wesee in many films. The use of such elements make the audience feel nervous and frightened as theywatch the trailer.
  5. 5. Fright Night ‘Fright Night’ is a hybrid film that combines the two genres of horror and comedy together, using a combination of elements of their elements. The film is a remake of Tom Holland’s 1985 film. By combining the two genres to create a hybrid, the film becomes more appealable to a wider range of audience as fans of the comedy and horror will want a film that has both these two genres in that work effectively to create a interesting film. (Reaching out to the demographics of a wider audience, thus gaining more sales and leading to profit).Horror comedy hybrid The opening of the trailer does not use conventions of the horror genre but more so of the comedy genre as we are introduced to the protagonist in a school setting, where the equilibrium at this point is not disrupted. In addition, the characters appear to be normal and ones the audience can relate to. However the trailer does display conventions of a typical horror film from the dark and gloomy lighting used to the sinister music in the background. The trailer uses a mixture of dialogue and non diegetic music throughout.
  6. 6. Cinematography: the opening of the trailer sees a two shot of a male and female charactersharing a romantic moment when the male receives a call from his mother. At this point thenarrative appears to be one that would be of the comedy genre due to the young teenagecharacters used and the awkward phone call he has with his mother. We cut to an establishingaerial shot of the city, which displays a typical normal everyday setting to the audience. Two shotsare used throughout the trailer, similar to the previous trailer, to display the dialogue between thecharacters which is vital in this trailer as the dialogue allows the audience to understand what thefilm’s narrative will be based on. Similar to the horror trailer, we tend to hear a conversationbetween two character followed by an insert cut to what they were talking about, in this case theneighbour who acts as the film’s villain. The close ups of the protagonist’s face present the fear hehas as he learns more about his new neighbour who has been behaving strangely. Theintroduction of the neighbour, in a low angle shot connotes the power he has and enforces thefeeling that we should be frightened of this character. The audience is familiarised with the houseof the neighbour through the master shots and medium close ups. The tracking shots are used tothe audience an insight into the house and enforce the feeling of fear and anxiety about whatreally goes on in the house. The lighting becomes darker and the conventions of the horror genreare evident as the plot progresses in the trailer. This contrasts with the earlier feel of the film thatrelates more to the genre of comedy.Editing: Being a hybrid film and containing elements of the horror genre, we would expect thatthe majority of the editing would have been done within the post production process. The use ofthe colour black for the fade outs between the shots adheres with the horror genre, used similarlyin The Woman In Black trailer. As the plot evolves, the transitions between each shots is of a muchfaster pace which has been done in attempt to create tension and anxiety as the audience watchesthe trailer. The shot of the hand against the window has been edited to look distorted and as if it weare seeing the hand from a night vision lens, relating to the genre of horror. Editing is a essentialpart of making the trailer look like a horror hybrid , such as making the villain’s eyes’ red and thefire explosion scenes. The final shot of the villain crashing into the back of car with the victims is anexample of a shot in the trailer that was edited effectively to make the audience jump as theywatch the trailer and in creating a dramatic finish.
  7. 7. Sound: We hear a diegetic sound of a mobile phone ringing at the start of the trailer, where there isdialogue between a son and mother. Dialogue is typical of both horror and comedy genre, however thistype fits more into the comedy genre as the conversation between the two characters may make theaudience laugh. The sound transitions from the dialogue to the diegetic sound of a bell ringing, as asound bridge as we hear the bell before we see the setting of the classroom. An upbeat soundtrackhas also been added in the post production process during the first few scenes that convey the genreof comedy. The volume of this soundtrack varies as it tends to decrease in volume when we getdialogue between the conversations of two characters. At certain points of the trailer the music stopswhich creates a dramatic pause and signifies the importance of that certain shot. In addition, thestopping of the music is also common of the comedy genre as it gives time for the audience to react tothe scene, perhaps making them laugh. Voiceover is also used in the trailer as we hear more about thenew mysterious neighbour and what he could be up to, giving the audience an insight. Once thedisruption of the plot is evident (disequilibrium) the soundtrack changes to a more downbeat andserious tone, as the protagonist finds out that he’s neighbour could be a vampire. Screaming and blastsounds are used as the shots transition at a fast pace, adding tension for the audience who arewatching the trailer. Towards the end of the trailer, as the protagonist looks to find a solution (solve thedisruption and gain victory– Propp) the music transform into a more calm but fighting tone as he triesto gain power. The trailer finishes off with diegetic sound of dialogue and screaming sound effect.Mise en scene: A variety of locations are used in the trailer due to the combined genres of comedyand horror. The setting of the city and school relate more to the genre of comedy as we’d expectcomedy films to be set in these types of locations. Whereas the setting of the house where the victimsare kept locked away along with the darkness of the night scenes fit more within the genre of horror.The use of the props also relate to the horror genre, such as the weapons purchased by the hero forprotection. Costume is also key as the villain is made to look pale and mysterious which arestereotypically features of a vampire as well as the fangs and red contact lenses. The overall mise enscene portrays the two genres, in particular horror from the dark and eerie atmosphere created .
  8. 8. Romance Dear John ‘Dear John’ is a romance film and therefore its film trailer has been designed and produced differently to how a film trailer for a horror film would have been done. Unlike the previous film trailer I analyzed, the trailer for Dear John begins with shots of just the narrative and it is only after a few seconds before we hear any dialogue from the characters. This could have been done to focus on the narrative and characters themselves as opposed to wanting to create any impressions of the film to the audience yet. The trailer includes romantic scenes between a couple displaying their love and happiness, disruptions that affect their relationship and moments of sadness. Thus we would link the narrative to Todorov’s theory of narrative as there is a clear equilibrium at the beginning as we see the male and female characters becoming close, the disruption being that the male figure leaves to go back to the army and perhaps the restoration of the equilibrium could be the two meeting each other again after several months.
  9. 9. Cinematography: The trailer begins with a variety of medium close ups of a male who we expect to bethe film’s protagonist, followed by master shots of other people in the same location as this character.We are then introduced to the female character of the film from c lose ups of her to two shots of herwith the male character. The style of shots reflect the film genre as the emphasis on romantic films isthe growing relationship between the male and female character, who in this case are introduced to usvery early on. As the audience, we expect the two characters to grow closer as the film develops. Twoshots are used throughout the trailer to show the two characters spending time with one another andby using these, the audience learn of the type of relationship the two characters hold. In addition, closeup shots are also effective in this trailer to portray the affection and emotion between the twoprotagonists and gives the audience a sense of how close they are. In comparison to the horror trailer,the establishing shots of the setting connote a romantic feel to the film and play a important role in thetelling of the story. Whereas the establishing shots in the Woman in Black are used to create intensityand fear.Editing: the transition between the shots are fairly quick and there is a particular part of the trailerwhere the shots are faded quickly into each other displaying the characters’ growing relationship.Unlike the horror trailer, the transitions however are of a calm nature as the shots flow into each other.Shot reverse shots are used effectively in the trailer when there is dialogue between the male andfemale characters. Cross fades to a white screen are typical to the genre of romance, in contrast tohorror trailers which use darker colours such as black or grey as the fade outs. The colour white isassociated with purity and innocence, which relates back to the genre and the narrative of the film.Special effects are not as evident as ones of horror trailers would be, however there were a fewexamples. An example being of the male’s face cut into a night time sky amongst the stars, an image inthe female’s mind as she thinks of her partner.
  10. 10. Sound: The opening of the trailer uses a calm non diegetic soundtrack of a guitar during the shots ofthe male character alone. Once the female character is introduced and dialogue between the twocharacters begin, the volume of the music decreases. After this point, the music picks up in volumeand pace as we transition through the various shots of the male and female protagonist’srelationship developing. When the trailer hits the disruption of the narrative, we hear a change ofsound as it transform into a piano non diegetic music, connoting the serious nature at this point. Asthe narrative develops further, getting more intense and reaching its climax, the pace of the soundstarts to increase and the beat of the piano becomes more intense to match the action of the trailer.Although there is no direct dialogue at this point, we can the voiceovers of the two character as theyspeak to each other through the form of letters they send to one another. As the audience, we areable to listen to the conversations of the two lovers as they kept separate because of the male’sarmy duty. The two characters reuniting in the later shot sees the music almost reaching its climaxas the narrative is growing more intense and it appears that the two may never reach one another.After the white symbolic flash, the soundtrack over the trailer is now of a song type as we hearvocals, which relates back to the genre of the trailer. The meaningful and sad tone of the musicsuggests there may not be the happy ending that we would expect of a romance film but thecalmness of it leaves the audience wondering if the couple will ever be happy together. Unlike thehorror trailer, the sound fades out softly as the narrative ends as we hear the last voiceover of thefemale character and the piano playing.Mise en scene: A variety of settings have been used in the trailer including a seafront, the beachand a army base. Locations such as the sea front and the barn are ones that we typically associateromance films with as they are realistic places and almost relatable for the audience watching. Thecostume is of a casual form which we would expect of this genre to make the characters appearrealistic and relatable. The use of letters between the male and female character connote theromantic relationship between the two as we associate letters between a male and female as ‘loveletters’. Thus the letters are an important symbol in the film as for a large proportion of the trailer, thecommunication between the two characters are through this letters, which as the audience we areable to hear.
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