ThrillersThe thriller genre in film is programming that creates tension, anticipation andsuspense. They do this so that the audiences’ mood is uncertain, the expectation isalways there and the eagerness of whats approaching is unbelievable. Thriller filmsgive people an adrenaline rush and they are often very fast paced.Thriller movies rely on sound and editing. Also in thrillers black and white are alsoconventions as they bring a more dark and gloomy feel to the movie. Lighting andshadows are emphasised a lot in thrillers as well as mirrors and stairs due to the morepsychological approach.The main aim for thrillers is to keep the audience on the edge of their seats and tokeep their eyes pealed on the film. They create a rush of moments and excitementwith the audience.To distinguish a thriller movie from any other movie is usually if the film engages theaudience and plays with their mind. Music is essential as it builds up the tension andthe use of lighting helps to create shadows which gives a mystery feel towards thethriller.
Sub-genres in film• The thriller genre has many sub-genres and here are some of them:• Conspiracy Thriller - In which the hero/heroine confronts a large, authoritative group of enemies whose true extent who only they know of their bad qualities.• Crime thriller: This genre is a mixture of both crime films and thrillers that offers a gripping version of either failed or successful crimes. These films usually focus on the criminals in the film rather then the good people e.g. policemen.• Political Thriller: In which the hero/heroine must guarantee the strength of the management that pays him.• Psychological Thriller: Is when the war between the main characters is both mental and emotional, instead of physical. Characters somehow get themselves involved into dangerous situations whether its by their own choice or by accident. Characters are reliant on their mental skills over their physical strength to overcome their enemies. A lot of psychological films include the characters solving mysteries.• Spy Thriller: The central character is normally a government agent who must take violent action against agents of a rival government or (in recent years) terrorists. The subgenre usually deals with the subject of fictional espionage in a realistic way. It is a significant aspect of British cinema with leading British directors such as Alfred Hitchcock and Carol Reed making notable contributions and many films set in the British Secret Service. The spy film usually fuses the action and science fiction genres, however, some spy films fall safely in the action genre rather than thriller (i.e. James Bond), especially those having frequent shootouts and car chases.• Supernatural thriller: The film brings in an strange element e.g. fantasy and/or supernatural mixed with tension, suspense and plot twists. Sometimes the central character and/or villain has some psychic ability and superpowers.• Techno thriller: A suspense film where the use of refined technology plays a significant part. There is also a bit of action and science fiction involved.
CodesCodes are systems of signs, which create meaning. Codes can be divided into twocategories – technical and symbolic:• Technical codes –Are all the ways in which equipment is used to tell the story of a media text, forexample the camera work in a film.• Symbolic codes –Show what is beneath the surface of what we see. For example, a characters actionsshow you how the character is feeling.Some codes can fit both categories for example music can be both technical andsymbolic.
ConvectionsConvections are the generally accepted ways of doing something. There are generalconventions in any medium, such as the interviewee quotes in a print article, butconventions are also genre specific.How do codes and convections apply in media studies?Codes and convections are used together in any study of genre – it is not enough todiscuss a technical code used such as camera work, without saying how it isconventionally used in a genre. For example, the technical code of lighting is used insome way in all film genres. It is a convention of the horror genre that side and backlighting is used to create mystery and suspense – an integral part of any horror movie.
Codes and Convections in ThrillersAlso in thrillers black and white are also conventions used as they bring a more darkand gloomy feel to the movie. Lighting and shadows are emphasised a lot in thrillersas well as mirrors and stairs due to the more psychological approach.Mirrors are used are a convection by using a reflection of ones inner self, mirrors canalso signify darkness within some characters. Shadows are used to create suspenseand a sort of mysterious feel to a film. They can also be used to hide someonesidentity.Flashbacks can create a sense of time, space and confusion to complicate theaudience. It’s a convection used in thrillers so it can give the audience an insight intothe characters past life. This tells them more about a character as it reveals moreabout them.Codes in thrillers are often fast paced camera angle changes as this creates tensionand suspense among the viewers.
PsychoPsycho is an American horror thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock andwas released in 1960. It stars Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin andJanet Leigh. The film shows the encounter between a secretary, MarionCrane (Leigh), who goes to an isolated motel after misusing money from heremployer, and the motels disturbed owner and manager, NormanBates(Perkins), and the result of their encounter.This link below is the trailer of Psycho:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wz719b9QUqY&feature=fvwrel&safe=activeEven in the trailer you can tell that it is a thriller/horror movie. It is indicatedmainly through the music used, sound is a very important micro feature for athriller movie. Music creates tension with eerie or intense music beingplayed either as diegetic or non-diegetic material within the scene. Highpitched sound is often used as it makes the spectator uncomfortable andshows how something unexpected might happen. For example, in ‘Jaws’ thesound used is to create suspenseful atmosphere.
Alfred Hitchcock• Sir Alfred Hitchcock was an English film producer and director. He produced many suspense and psychological thriller genre films. He framed shots to maximise apprehension, terror, or empathy and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of his films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring violence, murder, and crime.• Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career lasting sixty years. Alfred Hitchcock became a cultural icon and is still recognised massively all over the world today. He is often acknowledged as the greatest British filmmaker of all time. He came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
Codes and Convections used in the film ‘Psycho’ This lighting in this picture makes the scene much more effective. The lighting coming down from the right top corner makes us not able to see the characters face. This is hiding the characters identity from us so we cannot know who he is. This makes it scarier as it is the fear of the unknown and creates a suspense with the audience. This is a picture taken from the film Psycho. As you can see the shadow creates a massive effect on the audience because it creates a suspense of who is killing the main character and why. It also hides the killers identity which has the audience on the edge of their seats itching to know who the murderer is.