There is a specific 3 part formula that unravels in crime dramas, firstly the crime
is established , secondly the middle portion of the piece will consist of
characters gather evidence and ultimately try and solve the case, finally the case
will be solved and an arrest will be made.
Typical characters of this genre will include police detectives, private detectives
or crime teams. More often than not there will be a duo of crime solvers a main
detective, who seems to be flawed or troubled will be clever but cold, and a
sidekick who is more relatable they will usually be the viewers eyes in
witnessing events unfold. Other characters included are victims, their family or
friends and a criminal/gang.
The setting is typically a city setting especially urban cities as this makes the
violence and crimes seem insignificant in a city full of crimes. Other settings will
include police stations, interrogation rooms, dark empty streets to make victims
seem powerless and crime scenes.
The style of this particular genre is naturalistic and realistic, non diegetic sound
such as music is added to scenes to create dramatic effect and is usually dark
Key Directors and Studios
Martin Scorsese – Quentin Tarantino - Christopher Nolan- Nicolas Winding Refn-
Goodfellas. Mean Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Memento, Insomnia, Drive, Bronson, Only
Streets, Taxi Driver Dogs, Jackie Brown Dark Knight Trilogy God Forgives, Pusher
Warner Brothers Universal
Techniques used within the genre include music
played over scenes involving tension as this will
increase the feeling of danger, a lot of close up
zooms on evidence/clues to exaggerate the
progression of the investigation. Scenes will be
darkly lit to make it seem more mysterious and
dangerous. Techniques involving characters
usually which involve more than 3 crime solvers
will include a double cross of some kind.
Distribution, Exhibition & Exchange
Crime films are usually distributed by film posters which show the crime
solving duo or mobsters/criminals depending on who the film follows. Here
are some examples:
These posters are
generally character driven posters so the audience see who the
actors/actresses are so they feel compelled to see the film.
The films will get a general run of trailers and TV spots
as they are popular with audiences. Most independent
crime films are distributed through media outlets such
as we-media (Internet, Social networking sites).
Most of these films are adaptations of novels and this
creates built in awareness with the audience as most
will have read the book and others will read the book
after seeing the movie.
There are two exhibition methods of crime films these
are: Cinematic release and Straight to DVD, crime films
to receive a cinematic release are blockbuster or art
house films, and straight to DVD crime films will have
been filmed very quickly with minimal distribution.
The setting for Horror productions include small communities/isolated
environments and urban environments. This is to create the effect of anything
that connotes isolation or being stranded alone to create fear. Often the
places are connected with a “dark history” such as abandoned houses, hotels,
Iconography is a very important role within a Horror production as this is the
most memorable band in the production (except for the foe/villain of the
piece), the iconography includes: the visual style, props, lighting, and the
iconography of the monster/villain.
There is a very basic narrative structure with most Horror pieces as they
usually consist of a group of friends on a trip who are picked off one by one
by a monster/ costumed villain who want nothing but to kill the group. The
structure will usually leave the story open for a sequel thus start a franchise.
The characters within these productions are usually teenagers (this enables
the film’s demographic relate to the characters) which are presented as being
“immoral” and are plagued by a killer or supernatural being. Within Horrors
there is always a man or woman protagonist who must over come obstacles
to succeed in surviving.
Key Directors and Studios
Wes Craven- Alfred Hitchcock- James Wan- George A Romero-
Nightmare on Psycho, The Birds, Saw, Insidious, The Night of the living
Elm Street, Scream, Rear Window Conjuring dead, The Crazies,
The Hills Have Eyes Dawn of the dead
Lionsgate Dimension Films Hammer
Camera work within the Horror genre plays a special part as it’s not natural and very
expressive, high and low angles will create fear. POV shots are quite prominent also
as this allows the audience to see what the monster/villain is seeing which creates
tension and fear and they don’t know what will happen. Handheld shots which are
found in ‘found footage horrors’ make it very hard for the audience to see what is
happening, this is how terror is create in that particular sub-genre.
Framework can make it hard to see when the monster/villain is creeping up to the
protagonist as it uses depth of field and can make the viewer unsettled.
Editing can also produce an unsettling tension and suspense for example if the
editing is not flowing as fast as it has been it could signify something bad is about to
One of the key techniques used in horrors is the use of sound, disturbing sounds are
very important. Ambient diegetic sounds such as footsteps and screams is very
effective and non-diegetic sounds like heartbeats, music can make the audience feel
un-nerved and scared.
Distribution, Exhibition and Exchange
Horror films are distributed heavily through teaser and official
trailers, this will include some big scares from the final production
and will entice the audience to watch more. The teaser posters for
horror films are usually a picture of the setting to create tension and
an intrigue into what events will unfold:
The character posters for horrors will include a teaser of the threat
posed in the final feature, here is an example from the film ‘You’re
Theatrical horror posters will show the setting and a character/s with the information on
who made and stars in the film:
Another way the film can be promoted is through virtual media by
using websites to make viral videos and create events such as
The Exhibition methods used are the same as the crime genre, there
will be a wide spread cinematic release and other productions will be
released straight to DVD. As horrors are the easiest and cheapest to
film there is a wide range of straight to DVD and online streaming of