The basic definition of a thriller is- a broad genre
of literature, film, and television programming
that uses suspense, tension and excitement as
its main elements. Thrillers heavily stimulate the
viewer's moods, giving them a high level
of anticipation, ultra-heightened
expectation, uncertainty, surprise, anxiety and/
or terror. Films of this genre tend to
be adrenaline-rushing, gritty, often gruesome,
can be very scary, but always rousing and fastpaced,. Thrillers are now one of the biggest,
most successful and famous movie genre‟s to
ever be invented.
The thriller genre itself can actually be divided
and categorized into several different types,
also known as subgenres, because of how
broad and how expanded its elements and
characteristics can actually be. These different
psychological thrillers, crime thrillers, erotic thrillers,
mystery thrillers, action thrillers, disaster thrillers, eco
thrillers, forensic thrillers, legal thrillers, medical thrillers,
political thrillers, mystery thrillers, religious thrillers,
romantic thrillers, spy thrillers, supernatural thrillers and
(main and most recognized ones highlighted in bold).
These are just a few famous examples for the
main and most recognized types of thrillers
in the film industry…
Psychological Thrillers – „Seven‟, „Inception‟ &
„The silence of the Lambs‟
Crime Thrillers- „Reservoir Dogs‟ & „Pulp Fiction‟
Disaster Thrillers- „Twister‟ & „Armageddon‟
Supernatural thrillers- 'The Sixth Sense„ &
Action Thrillers- „The Dark Night‟ „Inside Man‟
Mystery Thrillers- „Vertigo‟ & „Code Blue‟
Thriller Film is a genre that revolves around anticipation
and suspense. The aim for Thrillers is to keep the
audience alert and on the edge of their seats. The
protagonist in these films is set against a problem – an
escape, a mission, or a mystery. No matter what subgenre a Thriller film falls into, it will emphasize the
danger that the protagonist faces. The tension with
the main problem is built on throughout the film and
leads to a highly stressful climax.
You may also find that the horror and action genres
often overlap with the thriller genre. Thrillers tend to
be psychological, threatening, mysterious and at
times involve larger-scale villainy such
as espionage, terrorism and conspira.cy
Problems that need solving
Good and evil or Powerful vs. Vulnerable
Antagonists & Protagonists
Death, blood & violence
Big „Halloween‟ style base element
A common thriller film or movie will always
contain these characters that I‟m about to
list, everything that follows are the main and
most features of thrillers that are used to
define an ideal and recognizable thriller!
Antagonist, protagonist, ghosts, super natural
beings and creatures, monsters, an
evil/violent blood thirsty villain (s), a venerable
person (s) which will most commonly be
female. a „good guy‟/hero which is usually a
male, Halloween related persona e.g. grim
reaper, boogey man etc.
The conventions of the thriller genre I’m focusing on are based on sound,
editing, lighting, missed-en-scene and cinematography. .
The codes and conventions are mainly what the audiences expect to see within
a thriller in order to define and recognize it this includes all types of thrillers,
including its subgenres, (psychological, action, etc) What audiences expect
to see is what producers need to include to attract an audience. The codes
and conventions in a thriller always includes a victim, which most of the time
is a vulnerable female protagonist and a dominant male character. This lets
the audiences relate with the stereotypes and therefore this produces more
audience appeal and realism.
Psychological thrillers usually play with audiences minds by giving a false sense of
security, using red herrings, or manipulating a character keep audiences
guessing. Sound is a large factor in creating tension in a thriller
sequence. High pitched strings are usually used to heighten suspense, and
eventually the suspense is released with a loud diagetic noise. A thorough use
of blood, death, violence, dim dark and dull colors and super natural
accruing or spiritual evil are all also big factors that make up the codes and
conventions of thrillers that make the genre so familiar with the audience.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDPv2HPujCM (video explanation)
“The Master of Suspense knew how to dial H for horror
too. Psycho, a seedy story of mother-love, peeping toms
and sexual perversion, virtually invented the modern
slasher movie, while The Birds informed all subsequent
In Hitchcock‟s hands, horror became grounded in
everyday mundanity and murder birthed cinematic art.
Suspense thrillers like Rear Window and Vertigo prove it‟s
possible to scare just through process: nerve-jangling
anticipation and mental disintegration built up through
music, off-kilter camera-angles and playful misdirection.
No latex gore here; just a master filmmaker manipulating
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock, (13 August 1899 – 29 April 1980) was an English film director and producer. He
pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres, which are my main focus
genres. After a successful career in British cinema in both silent films and early talkies, renowned as England's
best director, Hitchcock moved to Hollywood in 1939 and became a U.S. citizen in 1955.
Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock fashioned for himself a distinctive and
recognizable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a
person's gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism. He framed shots to maximize anxiety, fear, or
empathy, all important affect typical inflicted on viewers in thriller movies, and used innovative film editing.
His stories often feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside "icy blonde" female characters. Many of
Hitchcock's films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime.
Many of the mysteries, however, are used as decoys serve the film's themes and the psychological
examinations of the characters. Hitchcock's films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature
strong sexual overtones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the
television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.
Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films in a career spanning six decades. Often regarded
as the greatest British filmmaker, he came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain's Daily
Telegraph, which said: "Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands,
Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly
different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his
characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.“ The
magazine MovieMaker has described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he
is widely regarded as one of cinema's and the thriller genres most significant artists.