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02. Conventions of a Thriller


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02. Setting out to look at and think about mimicking outher peoples ideas, and try to identify what exactly makes a Thriller film tick.

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02. Conventions of a Thriller

  1. 1. 09/ 02 / 11 Conventions Of a Thriller By David Rawlinson
  2. 2. Modern Thriller <ul><li>A thriller is a movie genre which follows specific devices in order to build a sense of tension and excitement. </li></ul><ul><li>These days, many thriller films possess a hybrid set of conventions from different genres; however, they still share a set of key characteristics for a generic thriller. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Purpose <ul><li>A thriller is a film that provide thrills and keeps the audience engaged, “ on edge of their seats“, as the plot builds towards a climax. </li></ul><ul><li>The tension usually arises when the character(s) is/are placed in a menacing situation, a mystery, or a trap from which escaping seems impossible. </li></ul><ul><li>This is usually because the principal character is unsuspectingly or unknowingly involved in a dangerous or potentially deadly situation. </li></ul><ul><li>The now infamous shower scene in </li></ul><ul><li>“ Phsyco” (Right) put the victim into a </li></ul><ul><li>situation which the audience would feel </li></ul><ul><li>secure in, and then turned it on it’s head. </li></ul><ul><li>This allows the audience to empathize with the victim, putting themselves in that situation </li></ul>
  4. 4. Setting <ul><li>In thrillers, the settings vary greatly between narratives. This means that when it comes to deciding on where to base your film, there is a lot of choice. </li></ul><ul><li>Predominantly though, the character will be isolated. Whether it be in closed urban settings, or open rural areas . </li></ul><ul><li>A good example of this is to look at the films “Jurassic Park” (Upper Left) and “The Matrix” (Lower Left). One takes place predominantly in sprawling jungles, while the other takes place in urban and futuristic backdrops. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Plot <ul><li>Often the protagonists will be put into situations where they are left to try and figure out the true nature of what’s happening. </li></ul><ul><li>Often the antagonist will be working behind the scenes to drive the protagonist deeper into intricate plots that require him/her to use their own unique skills to escape. </li></ul><ul><li>In “Shutter Island” (right), Edward Daniels and his partner work to try and discover what’s being hidden from them on the mysterious prison island. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Another key component is to introduce an enigma. This can be an event, object or character that is shown, but not fully revealed until later in the film. </li></ul><ul><li>In the 1997 film, “Conspiracy Theory” (Left), Mel Gibson’s character is chased by CIA agents for reasons that he himself doesn’t understand. This use of enigma code drives the plot and pulls the audience into wanting to discover why this is happening. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>ARIIA (above) from “Eagle Eye” controls the main characters from the beginning of the film, forcing to follow courses of action which seem random to both the characters and the viewers. </li></ul><ul><li>Although she is seen as a machine for some of the film, the viewer always wonders who’s controlling her. This effectively hides the main antagonist in plain sight. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Mise En Scene <ul><li>This shot from “No Country for Old Men” (Right) shows some key points for the design of a thriller. </li></ul><ul><li>The lighting gives the shot an unsettling feel, due to creating harsh shadows. The hot hue to it also adds a sense of danger . </li></ul><ul><li>The character is made to look like he’s been through a lot, helping the viewer to empathize with him. If he were pristine, there would be no question on whether he would survive. </li></ul><ul><li>Even the background, with it’s stone walls and grid fence creates a sense of entrapment. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>In this scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds” (Left), one of the characters is surrounded by the films main antagonists. </li></ul><ul><li>This scene perfectly evokes a feeling of dread when being viewed, as the audience wonders if the protagonist will succeed in making it through without being attacked. </li></ul><ul><li>By creating a scenario wherein there is a fine line between the characters escape and a fatal end, the audience is fully drawn in to the scene, hanging on to every noise and movement, as it could determine the characters fate. </li></ul><ul><li>When viewed in black and white, an even greater sense of gravity is created, as there is even less for the audience to be distracted by. </li></ul>
  10. 10. And That’s All I’ve got :D Looking at this, I think I can see the key aspects that go into any thriller. Now onward towards more research and the beginnings of planning this opening sequence! Disclaimer: I do not own any of the images or media referenced within this presentation. Any use of copyrighted images is for educational purposes only.