Thriller Film Evaluation By Beatrice Ruffle Candidate Number: 5170
For the filming we worked in a group of 3. And we produced the first part of a thriller film which we called; ‘The nightmare that came true’. We chose this name so the audience had a clear idea of what was happening in the film. It was located in a corridor and a cupboard at our secondary school, we decided to film it at this location because the corridors were dark and isolated at night which created an eerie atmosphere, which is a typical convention of a thriller film. Although we filmed the bed scene in a house. Our film incorporated 3 characters a young school girl named Monika, a news reporter, Sue Wilson and an unknown character (the murderer). We chose to use a 14 year old girl as the actress because this age is quite close to the age of the girl in the film, which is 12. This is the outside of the school which we filmed in. We filmed here in the evenings when many students had left, so it was quiet and we didn’t have any unwanted sound in the clips.
It begins with a young school girl lying in bed having a nightmare, she’s very fidgety and uncomfortable and she begins to sweat. The screen then fades into her nightmare. In the young girls nightmare she seems to be running away from someone, she runs through the school corridor, then comes across a hand obviously from a dead body. She begins to panic and steps backwards. A hand from an unknown character grabs the child on her shoulder. We see the foot steps of an identified man, then the unlock of a door, to which we see the young girl dead on the floor in a small, dark room covered in blood. The scene finishes and we see images of the young girl stuck to the wall of the store room. Showing this murder could have been planned. A news report then comes on explaining that a young girls body was found in the store room at Hearthside School. Did the nightmare come true?
In our film we used a variety of camera angles. We used a high angle shot on the body of the young in the store room, showing she's venerable. We also used a high angle shot on the girl as she ran up the stairs, also showing her vulnerability and helplessness. The young girl being the venerable one is a typical convention of a thriller film, because usually in kidnapping films it’s the children (mainly girls) that are targeted. For example the thriller ‘Were Are The Children’, incorporates children getting kidnapped then being killed, which is very similar to our film.
This is a screen shot of the young girl running up the stairs, using a high angles shot.
We used a low angle shot on the feet of the unknown male character to show his power and it makes him look intimidating. We also emphasised the sound of his foot steps by turning up the volume of this clip on imovie by adjusting the sound, so it creates tension and shows he’s a bad character. We also used a close up shot on the unknown male characters hand. This hides his identity because its not showing his face just his hand, which creates mystery towards the audience of who it could be. The use of this camera angle also shows that this is an important part and creates tension because the audience doesn’t know what could be behind the door.
This is a close up of the unknown male character unlocking the cupboard door.
We used a point of view shot when the girl sees the hand. This attracts the attention of the audience because it makes them feel like their in the film. We also used a framing shot through a classroom window when the girl tried to get in. This camera angle interacts with the audience because it seems like you are in the room she runs up to, this creates tension. This makes the movie more exhilarating for the audience. We used all these camera angles to create a tense of suspense and tension. We also used them to show the venerable characters and the intimidating characters, helping to show the audience which characters are evil and innocent.
This is a framing shot from our film, where the girl is running past the door.
During our film we tried to vary the lighting. In the corridor scene where the girl is running, we made the lights look like they were flashing. We created this effect by simply switching the lights on and off and they flashed on one after the other. It looks like the lights are broken. This makes it seem a lot more eerie and dark like a typical thriller film. We also made the scene look darker using editing on imovie and reducing the colour saturation to around 23%. In this screen shot below you can see the light coming through the door windows, this gives the clip some more light without loosing the dark and eerie effect.
This is a screen shot from the corridor scene, you can see the light is flashing on.
Characters and Costumes
Monica (The young girl)
Monika is dressed in school uniform because she is a young school girl. Monika is shown to be scared and venerable. Typically in many films young girls are the venerable and innocent ones. To represent her in this way we dressed her in school uniform so it shows how young she is. In each scene Monica’s hair is very untidy, we made it like this to show she’s panicking and running to try and get away. We also put her hair in a plait to create a younger looking actress which looks her characters age.
This is a screen shot from our film. You can see she’s wearing school uniform with her blue blazer and black trousers; typical school uniform.
The unknown male character (The murderer)
The typical conventions of a murderer or an evil character are usually black clothes and face masks, whereas this unknown character is dressed in a scientific gown and gloves, it seems like he’s prepared to kill the girl because he’s wearing protective clothing. This clothing also makes him come across as a mad scientist, which shows the audience he’s a bad/evil character.
The News Reporter
We chose an older lady for the news reporter voice because her voice suited the part. Also many news reporters on the T.V are of an older generation.
This is a typical news situation.
Typical Thriller Characters
Typical thriller characters usually consist of;
And many other characters similar to this. In our film we have a criminal, which is the unknown male character and we have a victim, the young girl. In our film we also have a news reporter which is very different to the typical characters in a thriller film.
What have you learnt about technologies from the process of constructing this product?
These are all the technologies we used to produce our film.
We used a Sony Handy Cam to film the scenes. This camera is very easy to use, but you must make sure you keep the camera still otherwise the shots become shaky. To prevent this we used a tripod, which you attach the camera to the top, it stands on the floor and you can change the length of the legs depending on the camera shot you are trying to create. When we didn’t use the tripod we created shaky shots which were very messy, so we had to film them again. We used a variety of camera angles using the tripod, it helped us make high angle shots. However sometimes shaky shots are useful In films. They can be used when using a point of view shot and someone is running, then it shows that they are running and it greats tension and makes the audience feel like their in the film.
The Sony Handy Cam allowed us to create close ups by using the zoom button without moving the camera itself. Using close ups emphasises the object or person which is being zoomed up on. We used it on the dead girl and her bloody face.
For the editing we used an Apple Mac laptop. Because it has ‘imovie’ on it which is used to edit films. We used music which we found on ‘imovie’ and sounded eerie and created tension. For the scene where Monica is running down the corridor, we used the sound of thunder so it made the scene dramatic. We also cut many clips down using ‘imovie’, because some parts were too jumpy or shaky.
We also used ‘blogger’ to record our progress of making the preliminary and final film. It also incorporates research on the thriller genre.
From using this technology in the production of our media product I have learnt how to use the camera in many different ways, like taking a close up shot, and filming without producing shaky shots. I have also learnt how to use imovie and how to edit the filming, using sounds and music. Also we have used the microphone attachment to create a scene, which we learnt how to use. I have also learnt how to use all the camera elements, for example the photo aspects as well as the filming.
Who would be the audience for your media product?
Targeted Audience We decided our film would be rated a 15 this is because looking at other thrillers, many of them are rated 15. Also our film includes gory scenes, which means it cant be available for younger children to see. Being a 15 means we would have a larger audience because if it was rated an 18, it would be targeted at adults only and not teenagers, which will reduce the number of people who can come and see it. The audience would be teenagers and older. Due to it being quite an action and gory filled film I think teenage and middle-age males would prefer it over women. Although as it has a young girl as the main character, teenage girls may enjoy watching it. Also kidnapping and murder occurs in everyday life, so people may like to see it as it links to their everyday life.
Other Thriller Films
These movies are some of the top ten thriller films. They are all rated 15 and above. Looking at these films I would say our film should be rated a 15, because its gory and quite frightening. But its not full of as much violence and action as the films which are rated 18.
Psycho (1960) – Rated 15
The Godfather (1972) – Rated 15
Pulp Fiction (1994) – Rated 18
Goodfellas (1990) – Rated 18
Se7en (1995) – Rated 18.
This is an image from the film Psycho (1960)
In what ways does your media product use, develop or challenge forms and conventions of real media products?
When watching a thriller film the audience will feel many different emotions like excitement, exhilaration and tension. An I believe our film invokes these emotions for the audience because the suspense created by the music and camera angles like the point of view shot, make people feel excited and create exhilarating tension.
‘ Where Are The Children?’ ‘ Where Are The Children’ is a thriller film which I think is very similar to our film because it incorporates the kidnapping of two children who are later murdered. And our film involves the kidnapping and murder of a young girl. Also the children in our film and ‘Where Are The Children’ are around the same age. This is an image of the dvd of ‘Where Are The Children’.
Similarities to real media products
Our film is similar to a real thriller film because the typical thriller conventions include gory scenes, suspense, tension and excitement. And in our film we include a few gory scenes which include a dead girl covered in blood and a hand from a dead body also covered in blood. Although thrillers do include gory scenes, its more action then too much gore. In our film there’s also a lot of suspense and tension created using eerie music and point of view shots. In crime thrillers typical conventions involve kidnapping and captivities. In our film the evil male character kidnaps the child then murders her, so this is a typical convention of the thriller genre.
Another similarity of our film and typical thriller products is that ours is very dark and isolated. And many thrillers are located in a dark and eerie location, like ‘The Dark Knight’ which is very dark at the action parts, to create tension and suspense.
Challenging real media products
Our film also challenges forms of real media products because we have incorporated nightmares which is vey different to other thrillers. Also there isn't as much action incorporated in our beginning of the film, its more about fear and mystery. Having an unidentified character is different to typical thrillers because usually you can see the evil characters face and body. But I think having an unidentified character is a good idea because it’s very mysterious and creates suspense as you don’t know who they are and what they look like.
For example ‘The Dark Knight’, which is a thriller shows the evil character (the joker) throughout the whole film, so its not as mysterious because you know who it is.
How does your product represent particular social groups?
Our media product represents different social groups because we have the innocent young girl and the evil male characters.
The young girl is shown to be venerable with the use of camera angles and costume. If young children are involved in thriller or horror movies they are usually the venerable ones because they are young and weak.
The evil character is a male and usually the evil characters are males, like In the dark night with the joker. They usually commit crimes like murder and kidnapping. Our character is shown to be evil because of his costume and the low angle shots.
Looking back at your preliminary task, what do you feel you have learnt in the progression from it to the full product?
Our preliminary task involves two girls who are planning a kidnapping. We located our preliminary at a farm which was very large and isolated, we felt this was place gave the short film an eerie effect. It began with one girl walking in to the farm, she met another girl in a barn and they had a conversation about a kidnapping which was going to take place. We used a point of view shot when the girl ran through the gate and across the field to involve the audience and create tension because she was running away from something or someone. We also used the 180 degree rule when the two girls were having a conversation in the barn to avoid confusion for the audience. After the conversation the girl walked back out the farm. We used a low angle shot on the girls feet, so you could hear the footsteps in the snow a lot louder to create tension.
What we Have learnt:
We have learnt a lot from producing our preliminary to our final product. We have used a lot more camera angles in our final film then in our preliminary. We only used around 2 camera angles in our preliminary, whereas in our final film we used a lot more camera angles, because in this process we learnt how to produce many more. Also our shots in our preliminary were very shaky especially when the girl is running, and they are much improved In our final. In our final piece we used camera angles at the right moments, for example we used a low angle shot on the man when we wanted him to look intimidating and a high angle shot on the girl when we wanted her to look venerable. Whereas on our preliminary we used different camera angles at any time.
We didn’t do as much editing on our preliminary as our final film because during the process we learnt a lot more on how to edit. For our preliminary we slowed a few clips down to create more tension. And we also cut the film down by cropping and cutting the scenes. Whereas for our final task we did a lot more editing, like putting music in clips and sound effects in different areas. We changed the brightness of the clips and adjusted the film in many other different ways. Using more editing really helped our film progress from the preliminary to the final product.
This is a screen shot of imovie which we used.
What kind of media institution might distribute your media product?
Media institutions which might distribute our film could be Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros and 20 th Century Fox. They are very large and popular media institutions, which are worldwide and have a lot of money involved in their company.
Warner Bros is an American producer of film and television entertainment. Its headquarters is in Burbank, california.
Warner Bros also has subsidiary companies which include; Warner Bros. Studios, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Warner Bros. And many more. Warner Bros. would be a great company to distribute my media product because it’s world wide known and it’s a very large company with a lot of money involved. If Warner Bros. was to distribute my media product it would be advertised very well as many people know it. It also has a lot of resources, like technology and studios. It has produced huge blockbusters, including the ‘Harry Potter’ series. This company also has a website which advertises all the films it has distributed, which can be seen worldwide, increasing the audience.
Paramount Pictures is an American film distribution company, which was founded in 1912 by Adolph Zukor. Its America’s oldest existing film studio, it’s also the last major film studio whose headquarters are in Hollywood, LA district. It is also ranked as one of the top grossing movie studios. It has produced films like; ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the thriller ‘the Godfather’.
Paramount Pictures would be a good distribution company to distribute our media product because it is one of the top ranked movie studios, so it seems to be very advanced, also its very experienced as it’s a very old film studio. Paramount Pictures has also produced thriller movies before, with ‘The Godfather’, which is a very well known film, so they have experience in producing thrillers which were big hits. And it has access with distributing films all around the world.
20th Century Fox
It was founded in 1935 by William Fox. The headquarters are situated in California, United States. Its most popular films include; The Simpsons, Star Wars, Ice age and Avatar which was a huge blockbuster.
20 th Century Fox is a very well known film distribution company. Which is worldwide. This company could distribute our film because it has produced many large blockbusters, so it is a very popular and well known company, which means many people will see our film because 20 th Century Fox will distribute it and they know it’s a good company. Also it has good facilities including studios and technology.
How did you attract/address your audience?
Attracting the audience
The audience may be attracted to our film because its something that happens in everyday life. Kidnaps and murders are commonly on the news. This is shown by the title; ‘The nightmare that came true’, it puts across the message that it’s something which can typically happen if real life because it’s a nightmare, and it can be said that being murdered or kidnapped are peoples worst nightmares.
We have also made a poster which advertises our film and attracts the audience. When searching for film poster examples we noticed that most thriller and horror movies had a black background, like paranormal activity. As a result we decided to use a black background on ours because its dark and sinister, and it also informs the audience that it is a thriller film.
This is a photo of the poster. We chose to use a deep red for the text on the black background because red it usually associated with blood and horror, so this would show the audience the movie is a thriller, also it is very vibrant, so this is the focal point. We used a screen shot from the film and we put it in the middle of the page which makes it stand out. This image informs the audience of what the film involves, with the long corridor it shows it’s in a dark and isolated school and it also illustrates that there's a young girl in it and as she’s on the poster she must me the main character. To show even more that the film is a thriller we inserted a splatter of blood at the top of the page dripping over the image, this shows the film incorporates gore, and it also could be a message towards the audience that the young girl is going to die or be injured, because the blood is dripping over the image of her.
To attract the audience to our film, we created an exciting and eerie DVD cover for our film if it was to be sold in a shop. We decided to make the background black because thriller movies are usually associated with darkness. We used red text on the words which we wanted to stand out to the audience the most, which was ‘Don’t fall asleep’. This statement will draw the audience to our film because it sounds intriguing, making the audience want to find out what happens. We used white, bold font for the rest of the writing because this stands out on the black. When this DVD covers on a DVD shelf this cover is likely to stand out because the writing is bold and bright on a dark background.
We decided to use this photo because we felt it looked very similar to what happens in our film. Also you cannot see the characters faces so its left a mystery for the audience to find out what happens.