What is a „Thriller‟?
A thriller is a genre of movie of which revolves around suspense and
anticipation – “What is going to happen next?” , “What is behind that door?”
“Who is that ?”
The main aim of Thrillers is to keep the audience on the edge of their seats .
The main character is faced with a situational problem of which actor/ actress
has to uncover a mystery, a way of getting out of the problem or even a mission.
The tension that is built up from the beginning of the first scene continuing
through out the movie, mainly leads to a highly successful climax of which the
mystery, escape or mission is uncovered.
Examples of Thrillers: “The Conjuring” (2013), “The Purge” (2013), “Insidious”
(2010), “Pulp Fiction” (1994)”
What are the different types of
There are many different sub-genres of Thrillers:
Science Fiction Thriller
This sub-genre uses physical movement to create an atmosphere and suspense
that is within the film. As in a the traditional action film the sub-genre would
mainly have an ongoing sequence of physical stunt, fights, chases and battles.
The scenes will mainly add a sense of danger that the character is in.
An example of this sub-genre is: “Die Hard” (1988), “Kill Bill Vol. 1” (2003), “The
Bourne Identity” (2002)
Thriller and Crime is combined. The sub-genre mainly features a serial killer,
murderer, robbery or manhunt as centre of attention. The storyline focuses on
the Criminal and main character. The sub-genre is associated around
psychological and action of which combined in order to create tension and
An example of this sub-genre is: “The Usual Suspects”(1995), “The
Fugitive”(1994), “Jagged Edge” (1985).
This is not exactly a sub-genre of Thriller movies. It was a distinct type of drama
or Thriller of which was popular during the 1940‟s & 50‟s. The main theme is
black and white with a simple but effective lighting. In a Noir Film the main
character is normally a hero, a narrative voice and flashbacks to explain the
An example of this sub-genre is: “Sunset Boulevard” (1950), “The Maltese
Falcon” (1941), “Sweet Smell of Success” (1957)
Drama and Mystery film. Rather visualising the Thriller. This sub-genre comes
from the mind. The main character relies on their knowledge to solve the given
situation. Due to this, this often has a crossover with Horror films.
An example of this sub genre is: “Memento” (2000), “Rear Window” (1954), “Taxi
Science Fiction Thriller:
This includes Science-based themes. In a traditional science fiction film –
villains and heroes are included, advanced technology and unexplored locations
in order to create anticipation and suspense. The lot is mainly involved around
An example of this sub-genre is: “Alien vs. Predators: Requiem” (2007),
“Inception” (2010), “District 9” (2009”
Has elements of Religious themes throughout it. This includes having religious
questions, ceremonies and objects. The sub-genre includes of supernatural
events. Demon possession and church cover ups are the typical themes.
An example of this sub-genre is: “The Devil‟s Advocate” (1997), “The Ninth
Gate” (1999), “The Da Vinci Code” (2006)
What are the main themes dealt with
Narrative Themes: this has got a complex theme as it questions the audience
into what is going to happen next. They also add false clues into making the
audience think that, that certain object has gone away but it really hasn‟t as it
Mise en Scene: setting, location, set design, props, lighting, facial expressions,
lighting and colour, make up the Mise en Scene.
Assassination: as someone is likely to pay another person anonymously for
them to get killed.
Suspense: this is a technique that knowledge and what comes next between the
audience and the characters.
Key characters found in a „Thriller‟.
People involved in twisted relationships
Codes and Conventions of „Thrillers‟.
Changes in the camera angle
Tension music to add suspense
Black and White
Time and space of editing
In Psychological Thrillers: mind games,
This reflects what the character is feeling from the outside in.
It also can portray a dark mystery of which is being represented in some
Shadows and low lighting to represent an airy feel of which characters are being
represented from a different angle, this being the darkness or s split personality.
It can add tension to the film suggesting there is more something greater than
itself that is going to happen
Black and White adds a airy effect and can also make the film dark and curious
… Editing – Quick Cuts
This is used in order to create tension and suspense.
It is mainly used during in an important part of the scene which can create a lot
of disorientation of time and the space due to the audience figuring out what is
happening in the particular scene.
This contributes to a sense of disorientation as the audience becomes confused.
The audience becomes aware of what has happened to the characters past and
presuming why the character is acting in that way as it gives the audience a
insight into what has happened.
August 13 1899 – April 29 1980.
He was an English Filmmaker whom specialised in Thriller movies.
Alfred used many different camera techniques in order to get an effective mimic of
the character. This could be in order to portray the feelings of the character, for
example empathy or fear.
His movies mainly incorporated fugitives on the run from the law. – this is normally
alongside a female partner.
Hitchcock‟s ending to his films are unexpected which have endings such as violence,
murders or crimes.
Knighted: “Sir Alfred Hitchcock”.
Known as the “Master of Suspense”.
One of the most famous directors of 20 th Century.
Directed over 50 feature length films over 60 years.
Alfred Hitchcock had become a cultural icon as he appeared in his own films
and film trailers.
He preferred telling the story visually rather than verbally.
He paid close attention to detail while writing his storyboards.
Examples of Alfred Hitchcock‟s Films:
The lady Vanishes
The 39 Steps
Strangers on a plane
In this scene of Rear Window which is a Psychological Thriller, there is a lot of
suspense. This is due to where the camera is situated in that given moment. The facial
expressions that the characters portray are a sense that something not so good is about
to happen. As the main character senses disorientation as he tries to find the phone.
This shows that there is something out of the ordinary that is about to happen. The Mise
en Scene has been set up for the audience as there are shadows in the background and
the dark lighting adding an eerie effect.
In this scene there is a clear indication that something is not right. This is right from the
moment of the main character‟s facial expression as he stares around the empty room.
The camera angles give the audience a view of what the main character is experiencing
during the scene. The setting of the scene especially the moment of which the curtain is
blowing in the wind. Figuring out the pieces to the puzzle everything adds up. Giving the
character a sense of relief yet there is confusing written all over his face. The flashbacks
of what had previously happened shows a bigger picture and how everything is now