CODES AND CONVENTIONS OF A THRILLER By Becky Walker, Ryan Smith, Emma Hodgson and Kieran Lowen
WHAT IS A THRILLER?A thriller is a genre that uses suspense, tensionand excitement as it’s main elements.A lot of the time thriller uses enigma to capturean audiences attention.There are different kinds of elements to athriller genre, for example; Thematic, Narrative,and Technical.
THRILLER ELEMENTSThematic Elements -Thrillers are meant to be enigmatic, tension - creating and exciting.They promote moods, For example; a high level of anticipation, adrenalinerush, arousal, uncer tainty and sometimes even terror.Narrative Elements -Thrillers have literar y devices like plot twists, ret herrings and clif f -hangers.Usually narrative elements show society as a corrupted and dangerousplace that has violence, crime and murder with a menacing atmosphere.Technical Elements -The thriller genre usually has quick cuts, elliptical (invisible) editing,change in camera angles.Music is of ten there to create tension but again, it depends on which sub -genre the movie lies in.Also lighting, shadows, mirrors, flashbacks, twists, stair s and surprisesdepends on the sub -genre of the movie and how it will ef fect it.
MISE-EN-SCENEProps-Fake blood, weapons (knives, guns, axes, chainsaws), lanternsetc…Costumes-Ripped clothes, dark colours, masks, make up.Lighting-Dark light, dull, gloomy, mysterious, low/high key.Setting and location-Train tracks, woods, old mental homes, abandoned houses,fields.NVC-The use of non verbal communication builds up tension by theuse of silence and expression on peoples faces.
SOUNDThe sound to a thriller movie would be incidental sound wherethe movie fits with the action.You would usually hear loud screeching and screaming to makethe film more mysterious and get us thinking to what is going tohappen next.The use of silence is a powerful tool to suggest fear or menace.
EDITING-Only use fade to connect the scenes together.-Don’t use transitions as it looks scruf fy, just use basic cuts.-The use of shallow focus can establish the importance of anobject so can be used to show the importance of a main fixturein the film.-Continuity editing should be used to give a sense of realism andflows together.
NARRATIVE STRUCTURENarrative Structure of a thriller:Inciting Incident (Builds the story)Progressive Complications (Things get worse)CrisisClimaxResolution
CAMERA SHOTS Close ups –To show how someone is feeling or on an important object in the scene. Extreme Close up – To show a closer view of an emotion. Shallow focus – Blurs out the background and just focuses on one thing, can use this to show the importance of an object. High angle shot- To show the power of someone. Low angle shot – To show the weakness of someone. Tracking shot – Following the victim and the antagonist. This link with steadi-cam and hand held cameras to give a sense of realism Wide shot – To show how alone the victim is. Establishing shot –To show the audience where it is set.
COMPOSITIONComposition is where a character or an object is placed on thescene, for example the use of rule of thirds is where anobject/character is placed in an imaginary grid to show theimportance of a scene.The photo should be divided into nine equal parts, these partsthen create more tension, energy and interest in thecomposition rather than placing a character directly in themiddle.In typical media films the main character is placed in themiddle to draw the audiences attention to the centre.Composition is a key factor to a good film as an oddly placedcharacter or object could ruin the film buy being out of placeand not needed in the scene.