What is a thriller?
A thriller usually consists of a battle between the
protagonist character and the antagonist, when
there is a disruption in the equilibrium. Then the
story shows a chain of bad events building tension
and suspense for the climax. The aim of the
protagonist is to restore justice, while the antagonist
seeks to destroy it.
Conventions of a Thriller
• Low key lighting
• Quick cuts
• Tension music
• Changes in the angle of shots
• Diegetic sound of breathing
• Black and white shots
• Montage of shots
• Protagonist is in the mercy of the Antagonist
• The protagonist is often a brave male who
seeks to restore the equilibrium
• The antagonist will have a hidden identity
that the audience will uncover as the film
progresses. Often the antagonist goes out
for revenge from a past event.
Themes of Thriller
• The storyline will be designed so the
audience will think that it can happen to
them, which will make them feel scared.
Cinematography of a thriller
• There will be a lot of close ups and extreme
close ups of the protagonist character, this is
often to show their emotions, also it can be used
to focus on props to aid the narrative.
• The shots of the antagonistic character will be
cut quickly and will aim to hide their identity, e.g.
A shot of the back of them, a low key shot, the
silhouette, or shadow of the character
Editing of a Thriller
The director will include lots of jump cuts
because there will be things happening
that the audience is unaware of but is
essential for the film to make sense. Cross
cutting is a key point in editing as it is used
to build suspense which is essential for a
thriller. Continues editing is used to help
the audience understand the film better.
Sound in a Thriller
• Music is essential in any film to
understand the mood of the characters
and hint at a significant part in the film. In
a thriller it adds suspense and tension. It
will often start at a slow paves and the
then build up to make the shots more
dramatic for the audience.
Mise en scene
• The location is important for the film because it
help the audience establish the theme.
• Lighting is often low key
• Costumes- antagonist will be in dark clothes if
you see them. Protagonist will be in ordinary
• Make up and hair styles
• Filmstoke (Black & White, or colour, Fine-grain