Film trailer paranormal activity textual analysis


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Film trailer paranormal activity textual analysis

  1. 1. Textual AnalysisFilm TrailerParanormal ActivityCharlotte Page
  2. 2. Aims & Objectives of Trailers• A trailer is a form of advertising in which the purpose is to promote a new film to potential audiences and aims to encourage people to buy the film or see it at the cinema.• The genre of a film is often represented in a trailer through the elements of mise-en-scene and cinematography techniques. For example, the editing in a horror film is likely to be fast paced and include camera shots such as extreme close ups, yet these elements are not likely to be found in a film from the romantic genre.• Similarly, the choice of actors in a trailer can also represent the target audience of a film giving them something to relate to as well as providing a form of escapism as suggested in the Uses and Gratifications Theory by Blumler and Katz.• The actors themselves can emphasise the genre if they are known for a particular genre of film. For example, actor Jim Carey is known for playing a role in comedies.• Trailers will often have a unique selling point (USP) to help it appear different from others of the same genre. This helps to attract audiences because a new release will appear different from previous trailers audiences may have seen before. Trailers will often create enigma to entice audiences through mystery.
  3. 3. Paranormal Activity Trailer• Paranormal Activity (2007) is a film from the horror/mystery genre directed by Oren Peli. The film stars Katie Featherston, Micah Sloat and Mark Dredrichs.• Director, Oren Peli, is known for his work within horror having produced films such as Insidious (2010) and the Chernobyl Diaries (2012).• The distributer of the Paranormal Activity series is Paramount Pictures. The production company for Paranormal Activity is Blumhouse Productions who have also produced the other Paranormal Activity films in the series. Blumhouse Productions produces a variety of films from different genres however are known for their horror films having produced Sinister (2012) and Mockingbird (2013).
  4. 4. Narrative• The trailer is told from the perspective of an audience who are watching the film at the cinema. By using this, a consumer of the trailer are able to see the reactions of a real audience.• Todorov’s Narrative Structure At the start of the trailer, the audience enter the cinema and the atmosphere is very calm. As the audience in the trailer appear comfortable, the consumer watching the trailer is too as everything seems balanced. However, when the lights go out in the house, the audience reactions in the trailer become restless and tense as there is a shift from being balanced to unbalanced as supernatural activity begins to happen in the house. At the end of the trailer, there is no equilibrium as this will hopefully help to entice the audience to go and watch the film to find out the ending.
  5. 5. Performance• The actors used in Paranormal Activity are fairly unknown.• This can be thought to be quite successful as the plot is set in an ordinary house and this means that the characters are more relatable to the audience.• This is because the audience are able to connect to the characters more because they are very similar to them.• Furthermore, by using actors that are unknown, an audience may be curious to find out more about the film as they are new rising stars.
  6. 6. Camerawork• The camerawork in the trailer uses point of view shots as characters are filming in their house with a hand held camera. This allows an audience to connect with the characters as everything is shown from their point of view meaning that a consumer finds out information at the same time as the characters. Similarly, point of view puts the audience in the shoes of the character and this means that there is no dramatic irony as the audience know no more than the characters themselves.• The camera movements are very shaky to reflect that the characters are filming. This is a convention of the horror genre as it makes the audience feel involved as they share the nerves and unease that the characters do.• This choice of camera movement allows the film to look more realistic as the medium shots only show what the characters can see in the house.
  7. 7. • The trailer includes camera shots that are filmed from the perspective of an audience watching the film.• These can be classified as as a point of view shot and an over the shoulder shot as this allows a consumer of the trailer to share the same experience as the audience at the cinema.• Similarly, mid-shots and close-ups are used to show the audiences reactions to certain scenes in the film. The reactions shown are often of shock and this makes the consumer curious as they are unable to see the visuals that the cinema audience are seeing on screen and perhaps makes it more likely that people will go and watch the film.
  8. 8. Editing• Montage is also used in this trailer. This is where cuts from throughout the film are pieced together so that these scenes are edited in a way that allow the trailer to have maximum impact on the audience.• The calmer, more balanced scenes are shown at the beginning and the more frightening, shocking scenes are shown towards the end causing the trailer to appear unbalanced.• By doing this, the exciting scenes are more likely to be remembered by the audience as it is the last thing they see.
  9. 9. Fast Paced Editing & Cutaways• Instead of using straight cuts, the trailer uses dissolve transitions to white noise to remind the audience this is a home video.• The pace of the trailer is made fast through quick cuts of the video camera becoming faded. By doing this, if becomes difficult for the audience to be able to see what is happening, so encourages them to rely on their senses and use their imagination.• This also reminds the audience that the characters are filming what is happening themselves and highlights the more personal connection the audience have towards the characters.• The fast pace of the trailer is emphasised through cutaways as this makes the trailer seem disjointed which creates an uneasy feel.
  10. 10. Sound – Incidental Music• The trailer uses very little sound, there is no incidental music to create an atmosphere however, because there is very little sound tension is built because audiences are waiting and expecting that something will make them jump.• Furthermore, by having no incidental music, a sense of verisimilitude is created as the setting is a normal, quiet home where background music is not needed in order to create an atmosphere. This makes the plot more relatable to an audience as this is something that they can connect to as they can apply the situation to their own lives.• Using silence or very little sound is another convention of horror films as this helps to build suspense and tension for an audience.
  11. 11. Diegetic Sounds• Even though background music is not used, diegetic sounds are used in the trailer to create a tense atmosphere as well as creating a sense of verisimilitude.• The diegetic sound of the audience screaming reminds the consumer of the trailer that this is a horror film as screams and shrieks are another convention of the horror genre. As the consumer is unable to see what is happening on screen, diegetic sounds encourage an audience to use their imagination.• Bangs and loud noises are also another convention of horror films as people often associate this with making them jump or violence. These are played when something frightening happens as this is more likely that the audience will jump.• Similarly, the synchronous sound of the bang when the door closes means that this makes more of an impact and the audience pay more attention to it.• The trailer uses white noise of the video camera and this not only reminds the audience that the characters are filming the events themselves but creates a sense of mystery as it feels like the audience are becoming more distant.
  12. 12. Mise-En-Scene Setting & Props• The setting used is an ordinary family home and the choice of décor and props used such as the laptop suggests that this is a modern family and this would be something that the audience watching the film can relate to as the modern feel to the house suggests young characters and this is something that the target audience can connect with.• The urban setting shows a middle class family and this is representative of the typical American audience that the film is appealing to. By doing this, the film is able to reach a wider audience.• Even though the setting appears modern, props such as the chandelier in the hallway is a traditional convention of horror and this implies that the film is mixing old and new horror conventions.• The bedroom is repeatedly used as a setting where the supernatural events occur. Usually, the bedroom is associated with comfort and safety however the trailer takes this feeling away as the comfort is replaced with feeling uneasy.
  13. 13. Lighting & Colour• The lighting used throughout the trailer is very dark and this is a convention of the horror genre as darkness connotes the idea of the unknown and danger.• However, in several scenes, high key lighting is used to place emphasis on the subject and this makes the audience feel uncomfortable as the lighting is very bright and harsh.• The colours used in the house are quite plain and simple reflecting the modern feel of the house and the characters that live there.• Even though the lighting is dark, a juxtaposition is shown between the colours black and white. The black suggests evil, and darkness whereas the white implies purity and innocence so perhaps demonstrates the contrast between the goodness of the characters and the evilness of the supernatural.
  14. 14. Mode of Address • The trailer talks to the audience through the slogan “Experience it for Yourself.” By doing this, the impression is created that the trailer is directly talking to the audience and encourages consumers to go and watch the film as people should experience the events like the cinema audience who featured in the trailer. • Furthermore, by using capitals, the text not only appears bolder but an intimidating tone is created which would be expected of a trailer from the horror genre. • The film’s website address is also shown at the end of the trailer which is a synergistic technique.
  15. 15. Barthe’s Enigma Theory• Barthe’s enigma theory can be applied to the Paranormal Activity trailer as the purpose of it is to promote and create mystery surrounding the films release.• The title, Paranormal Activity, instantly creates a sense of mystery as it implies that the storyline will feature the supernatural but it is unclear exactly what this activity is. Therefore, the audience are intrigued to watch the film to see what the mystery is.• Similarly, some scenes audiences will only understand once they have seen the film so this may entice audiences to go and watch the film.• Most of the scenes shown in the trailer are in the dark and this adds to the sense of mystery as at times it is unclear what is happening.
  16. 16. Influences• From this trailer, we have been inspired by the setting to use a family home in our own trailer as this will help audiences relate to the setting and characters more.• Within camerawork, point of view shots allow consumers to take the place of the character and feel like they are involved so this is something we are going to consider as in our questionnaire results, point of view shots were also popular.• From this trailer, we have been influenced to use a similar editing style by showing calmer scenes at the start and building to the more exciting scenes as it is likely the final scenes will be remembered more. This will allow Todorov’s narrative structure to apply to our trailer as opening will start with an equilibrium and end unbalanced to create a sense of mystery.• We have found that silence is effective in creating a tense atmosphere as audiences are expecting something to happen that will shock them but through silence when it will happen is unclear. This will help our trailer to frighten the audience which is expected in the horror genre.• For the mise-en-scene, we plan to use low key lighting in the house as this helps to create fear as it is unknown what will happen.• We are also going to add text in our trailer, like the text in this one, as it creates a more personal feel and allows the trailer to directly talk to the audience.