What is a thriller?
This is a genre of literature, film, and television
programming that is very broad.
It keeps the audience alert and on the edge of their
seats by stimulating their moods.
What are the different types of thrillers?
There are many subgenres under this very broad
genre of a thriller, the main ones are:
Science Fiction Thriller
Incorporates physical action to create suspense within
The scenes have a continuous motion including
physical stunts, fights, chases and battles that add to
the overall sense of danger.
Examples of action thrillers are:
Incorporates the suspenseful aspects of a thriller with
a crime plot.
Within this subgenre the plot usually has a manhunt,
robbery, serial killer or murderer by using action
aspects to build the tension.
Examples of crime thrillers are:
Incorporates elements of mystery to the film where
the suspense comes from the mind.
Rather than a physical threat like the other
subgenres have, the threat in these films comes
from the unknown where the protagonist has to
rely on their own minds to solve the situation.
Examples of psychological thrillers are:
Science Fiction Thriller
Incorporates science-based themes into the plot of the
Often scenes will include plots with alien invasions,
super-diseases and paranormal abilities that explore
the future “going bad” which creates the anticipation
and suspense from the heroes and villains.
Examples of science fiction thrillers are:
What are the main themes dealt with in
As there are many subgenres within thrillers, there are
many different themes that set out with each
subgenre, however the primary themes overall are:
The protagonist faces death, either their own or
The antagonist is stronger mentally or physically
The protagonist ends up in a dangerous conflict
The protagonist and antagonist may battle
The main storyline is a mystery that has to be solved
Key characters found in a thriller
Characters in a thriller include:
A protagonist that is often an ordinary citizen and
traditionally a male
An antagonist that is frequently a criminal
Aliens, ghosts or zombies
Cops, agents and detectives
Codes and conventions of thrillers
Thriller films tend to be adrenaline-rushing, fast-paced
The use of suspense, tension and excitement is the
main aim for thrillers.
Music is very important, the use of eerie, gloomy and
fast paced sounds are used.
The shots tend to have changes in camera angles,
quick cuts and have low lighting
Steven Spielberg (18th December 1946)
Is a very successful, famous, American film
director, who is considered to be one of the most
popular in the history of cinema.
Spielberg’s films have covered a range of
subgenres under thriller in his career of more
than four decades.
Examples of his work are: