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CODES AND CONVENTIONS
OF A THRILLER
THRILLERS
• Thriller is a genre of a film, uses suspense, tension, and excitement as
its main elements.Thrillers heavily stimulate the viewer's moods,
giving them a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation,
uncertainty, surprise, anxiety and terror. Films of this genre tend to be
adrenaline-rushing, gritty and fast-paced.
• A thriller provides the sudden rush of emotions, excitement, and
exhilaration that drive the narrative.. It keeps the audience on the
"edge of their seats", as the plot builds towards a climax. Literary
devices such as red herrings, plot twists, and cliffhangers are used alot.
A thriller is usually a villain-driven plot, whereby he or she presents
obstacles that the protagonist must overcome.
Thriller sub genres
• Action thrillers
• Conspiracy thrillers
• Crime thrillers
• Disaster thrillers
• Drama thrillers
• Eco- thrillers
• Horror thrillers
• Legal thrillers
• Medical thrillers
• Political thrillers
• Psychological thrillers
• Spy thrillers
• Supernatural thrillers
• Techno-thrillers
Codes and conventions of a thriller
Codes
• Codes are systems of signs, which create meaning. Codes
can be divided into two categories –
• Technical codes- camera work in films
• Symbolic codes- shows what is beneath the surface of
what we see a characters actions and what there actions
shows us about what he or she is feeling
• For example, the technical code of lighting is used in some
way in all film genres. It is a convention of the horror
genre that side and back lighting is used to create mystery
and suspense – an integral part of any horror movie.
Types of characters
• The usual types of characters that are seen in a thriller film
are:
• Criminals
• Assassins
• Terrorists
• Stalkers
• Innocent civilians
• Spies
• Convicts
• Men associated in danger
• Soldiers
• Law enforcement officers
Sound and editing
• Sound and editing play a big part in a thriller film as it
helps creates tension and suspense in the film as it builds
up to main parts in the film.
• When they make the film they manipulate the editing to
make certain effects on the audience.
• Quick cuts are usually used with a variation of shot sizes
and camera angles.
• Music comes into the film at certain points to unsettle and
make the audience scared.
• In most thrillers you feel sorry for the protagonist, you get
told there story in flashbacks and elliptical editing
• Shots are very short and quick with rapid editing to
increase the tension in the film.
Lighting
• Lighting is important in a thriller film as it helps to
define the genre of the movie as well as making it
very successful in ways of scaring the audience.
Certain lighting techniques are used in a thriller:
they are usually low key lighting to produce dark
shadows on screen, creating a sinister tone.
Location
• The location of a thriller is usually in a dark old
house narratives. They are set in scary, suburban
houses to make the audience that is could happen
to them at any time.
Women in black
Paranormal
activity Scary movie
Antagonists
• A villain or forces of antagonism that are truly frightening, disturbing,or unsettling. The
strength of a protagonist is measured against the strength of the adversaries he must
overcome, whether these are natural forces of antagonism, or an antagonist who is a
bigger than the villain.
• 1. An increasing sense of danger to the protagonist or to the protagonist’s loved-one.
Something will happen to make it personal.
• 2. Deep psychological exploration of human nature through the internal struggle of the
protagonist or protagonists. Often, several cast characters will have the same struggle from
different angles, Rather than work from a theme work from a dilemma.
• 3. Satisfying surprises - There must be a twist that’s both unexpected and inevitable. At its
essence, a twist is nothing more than turning the logic of the story around and showing the
reader that there is a deeper logic..
• 4. Point-of-view flips - The first-person POV is becoming more and more popular, even the
present tense rather than past tense for the story. POV switches are commonly used to
increase the suspense.
• 5. A heroic underdog Often a normal, everyday person is thrown into an extraordinary world
and must overcome the odds, rise to the challenge. Two movies that do a good job with this
are The Fugitive and The Hunt for Red October. In the climactic conflict between the
protagonist and the antagonist
• 6. Memorable climaxes that push the protagonist to the edge, and then beyond it.
• 7. A mythic or archetypical resurrection - after the final conflict in which there appears to be
no chance for the protagonist to survive, we see a form or mythic resurrection so that the
protagonist can rise to fight for justice or counter evil once again.
The final girl
• The final girl is a trope in thriller and horror films. It
refers to the last woman alive to confront the killer,
ostensibly the one left to tell the story. The final girl has
been observed in dozens of films, including Halloween,
Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, and also
appears in other genres.
• The ‘final girl’ is usually one that is popular, dumb or
strong, and isn't sexually active, this makes the viewer not
suspect her to be the last one alive and beats the
antagonist. In the newer films that have been realised this
has changed and they now use the final girl as the one that
viewers guess to be the final girl which distracts away
from the film itself.
Protagonists

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Codes and conventions of a thriller

  • 2. THRILLERS • Thriller is a genre of a film, uses suspense, tension, and excitement as its main elements.Thrillers heavily stimulate the viewer's moods, giving them a high level of anticipation, ultra-heightened expectation, uncertainty, surprise, anxiety and terror. Films of this genre tend to be adrenaline-rushing, gritty and fast-paced. • A thriller provides the sudden rush of emotions, excitement, and exhilaration that drive the narrative.. It keeps the audience on the "edge of their seats", as the plot builds towards a climax. Literary devices such as red herrings, plot twists, and cliffhangers are used alot. A thriller is usually a villain-driven plot, whereby he or she presents obstacles that the protagonist must overcome.
  • 3. Thriller sub genres • Action thrillers • Conspiracy thrillers • Crime thrillers • Disaster thrillers • Drama thrillers • Eco- thrillers • Horror thrillers • Legal thrillers • Medical thrillers • Political thrillers • Psychological thrillers • Spy thrillers • Supernatural thrillers • Techno-thrillers
  • 5. Codes • Codes are systems of signs, which create meaning. Codes can be divided into two categories – • Technical codes- camera work in films • Symbolic codes- shows what is beneath the surface of what we see a characters actions and what there actions shows us about what he or she is feeling • For example, the technical code of lighting is used in some way in all film genres. It is a convention of the horror genre that side and back lighting is used to create mystery and suspense – an integral part of any horror movie.
  • 6. Types of characters • The usual types of characters that are seen in a thriller film are: • Criminals • Assassins • Terrorists • Stalkers • Innocent civilians • Spies • Convicts • Men associated in danger • Soldiers • Law enforcement officers
  • 7. Sound and editing • Sound and editing play a big part in a thriller film as it helps creates tension and suspense in the film as it builds up to main parts in the film. • When they make the film they manipulate the editing to make certain effects on the audience. • Quick cuts are usually used with a variation of shot sizes and camera angles. • Music comes into the film at certain points to unsettle and make the audience scared. • In most thrillers you feel sorry for the protagonist, you get told there story in flashbacks and elliptical editing • Shots are very short and quick with rapid editing to increase the tension in the film.
  • 8. Lighting • Lighting is important in a thriller film as it helps to define the genre of the movie as well as making it very successful in ways of scaring the audience. Certain lighting techniques are used in a thriller: they are usually low key lighting to produce dark shadows on screen, creating a sinister tone.
  • 9. Location • The location of a thriller is usually in a dark old house narratives. They are set in scary, suburban houses to make the audience that is could happen to them at any time. Women in black Paranormal activity Scary movie
  • 10. Antagonists • A villain or forces of antagonism that are truly frightening, disturbing,or unsettling. The strength of a protagonist is measured against the strength of the adversaries he must overcome, whether these are natural forces of antagonism, or an antagonist who is a bigger than the villain. • 1. An increasing sense of danger to the protagonist or to the protagonist’s loved-one. Something will happen to make it personal. • 2. Deep psychological exploration of human nature through the internal struggle of the protagonist or protagonists. Often, several cast characters will have the same struggle from different angles, Rather than work from a theme work from a dilemma. • 3. Satisfying surprises - There must be a twist that’s both unexpected and inevitable. At its essence, a twist is nothing more than turning the logic of the story around and showing the reader that there is a deeper logic.. • 4. Point-of-view flips - The first-person POV is becoming more and more popular, even the present tense rather than past tense for the story. POV switches are commonly used to increase the suspense. • 5. A heroic underdog Often a normal, everyday person is thrown into an extraordinary world and must overcome the odds, rise to the challenge. Two movies that do a good job with this are The Fugitive and The Hunt for Red October. In the climactic conflict between the protagonist and the antagonist • 6. Memorable climaxes that push the protagonist to the edge, and then beyond it. • 7. A mythic or archetypical resurrection - after the final conflict in which there appears to be no chance for the protagonist to survive, we see a form or mythic resurrection so that the protagonist can rise to fight for justice or counter evil once again.
  • 11. The final girl • The final girl is a trope in thriller and horror films. It refers to the last woman alive to confront the killer, ostensibly the one left to tell the story. The final girl has been observed in dozens of films, including Halloween, Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street, and also appears in other genres. • The ‘final girl’ is usually one that is popular, dumb or strong, and isn't sexually active, this makes the viewer not suspect her to be the last one alive and beats the antagonist. In the newer films that have been realised this has changed and they now use the final girl as the one that viewers guess to be the final girl which distracts away from the film itself.