Low key lighting and dark colours
Mystery-Thriller films use low key lighting to create mystery and suspense
within the film. It does this by hiding key points of the frame including
peoples faces and surroundings from the audience. It can also hide important
facts and clues from the characters or it can be used to hide the characters
from one another. Low key lighting is also used to play on peoples primitive
fears of the dark and the unknown. Low key lighting is often paired with dark
colours to highlight the shadows created in the dark.
The Dark Knight Rises
Mystery-Thriller films often have weaponry including guns and knives. This is
because there is usually a confrontation or fight between the protagonist and
the antagonist and weaponry increases the stakes for everyone involved and
increases the tension within the scene.
Mystery-Thriller films often use non diegetic music to build up suspense and
tension. The music often starts off slowly and quietly and then builds up to
become fast and loud. Silence is also used to create tension and panic within
an audience. It can also be used to highlight the isolation felt by a character
either literally or figuratively.
Diegetic sound is also used to create tension an suspense. Footsteps are often
used to indicate that a big scene or important moment is coming up. This is
also sometimes used to indicate that a character is being followed or that they
are completely alone
Mystery-Thrillers are often set in urban areas. This creates an unease within
the audience as it is a familiar setting and it could be them in the situation. It
can also create more danger in a situation as there are more people than just
the antagonist and the protagonist and therefore more lives are at risk.
Mystery-Thrillers can also be set in rural areas as it highlights the isolation of
the situation as there is no one to help playing on people’s fears. This
particular fear is called urbanoia.
Another popular setting is that of a
dystopian society or future. This sends a
message to the audience and usually acts as
social commentary and a warning to
humanity about the current path they’re on.
Mystery-Thrillers often have the characters dressed in the normal clothing of
the time it is set in. This is to create realism in the film and also to make the
audience feel like they could be in that situation increasing the fear felt by the
Costumes can also be used to indicate the moral alignment of a character.
“Good” characters where light and bright colours
whereas “bad” and morally ambiguous characters
will wear dark colours and more often than not
black. Characters may also wear a lot of black if
they’re on the run or supposed to be hiding.
The Bourne Identity