Friday, 29 October 2010

Conventions of opening sequences - Horror #2

Film title: The Ring
Genre: Horror
Director: Gore Verbinski
Release date: 2002
Part 1 clip: (0:00 - 7:30)

1) Sound:
At the very beginning of the film, there is no sound. Absolute silence. This is a great effect as the tension and fear builds up and the first sound they hear may make them jump.
Next we hear the traditional rain which instantly tells you - this is a horror film. A typical convention of a horror film which tells the viewer instantly what will happen during the film. Next we hear the two girls in the first scene talking. They are discussing science which suggests they are still in school. Their voices are dull and scary which creates fear. Later on in the opening sequence, we hear a phone ring. Yet another typical convention of a horror film. A phone ringing can only mean one thing - something bad is going to happen. The audience already know this and this effect creates an array of enigma codes. Honestly you would expect to hear a demon voice at the other end right? Well this time is much different. A call from her mother built tension and fear into the viewer, a trick placed in to fool you into being afraid of the unknown. We next hear a rustling from the TV. This is a frightening aspect. The main story line links back to the TV in every way so this effect scares the viewers.
The use of sound effects towards the end of the clip creates drama and emphasises the fear of the unknown. As the girl sees the film a Sharp screech is hear shocking the viewers and introducing the first real shock of the film.

2) Mise-en-scene:
A typical dark, scary and moving beginning to the film with the distinct sound of rain pelting down on the ground and the dark sullen looking house established in the first shot. It creates tension and fear. It tells the viewer exactly what genre the film is. The location is a typical scary house set in suburbia. Horror films are typically set in a scary dark house which scares the viewer instantly.
The costume is very important as the school uniform signifies and tells the viewer how young and naive the two girls are as they are only in school.

Props are not so important in this film until we see the TV blurred and turning on by itself which, after the story had been told by the girls, is a scary aspect to the film. The audience feels on edge and scared as they know what will happen.

3) Colour, font and positioning of titles:
At the beginning of the opening sequence the typical and conventional Dreamworks clip is shown. Typically, Dreamworks adapt their opening sequence to fit in with the theme of the film. For example; Shrek - the Dreamworks moon had Shrek ears. They aways base their clip on the theme of the film. In The Ring, they use lightening to create fear and to create adrenaline for the audience.

As you can clearly see the blurred lightening on the opening shot.
Unlike Scream, The Ring has no title except the Dreamworks clip. A short pause of black is used instead to create suspense with the viewer. This clever trick fools the viewer into not knowing when the film will start. The tension builds and they anticipate what will come next.

4) Enigma codes:
During the film many enigma codes are raised.
  1. Who made the video that kills people?
  2. Why was it made? 
  3. How did they two girls get the film? Was it already in their house or...?
  4. How did the TV automatically turn on?
  5. Why were those images chosen for the film?
Many of the enigma codes which are obvious are answered in the first few seconds of the film as the two girls discuss the video and what it is all about. This tells the audience what to expect but still leaves a trace of fear as the video is made out to be a joke by the girls. Is this to be taken seriously or not?

5) Cinematography:
First off we can see an establishing shot of the main location if the film. A dark house with a dark setting. It is also raining heavily which is typical of a horror film.

Soon after we see a medium long shot of the main two characters which introduces them to the viewers and gives the viewers a chance to predict the future of the girls.

A shot reverse shot is used to create geography with the viewer. This is also a good tension building effect which makes the viewers feel involved in the film and the conversation. It pus the pressure on the viewers and not the characters.

 A match on action shot is used when the young girl runs up the stairs. This effect creates the effect of endless time and a continuous shot.

Along with this, many point of view and common long shots are used to create tension throughout the opening sequence.

6) Editing techniques and effects:
A clever edit with the match on action shot gives the effect on continuous time. It allows the viewers brain to engage in more interesting camera shots and show smoothly they are edited together.

Clean sharp cuts are used to flick between shots. No smooth transitions such as dissolves just pure sharp cuts to create tension.

Cuts between tension building scenes are again very successful in making the audience afraid of what will happen and allow them to ask the question; when will it happen?

7) Character representation and establishing:
The first few seconds of the film we meet the first two characters. Typically two dumb, vulnerable young girls. These characters are typically used in horror films to predict the future for them. Its a great effect which tells the viewer something bad is going to happen and soon.
These are the only two character which are really focused on in the main part of the opening sequence.

8) Iconography:
The main typical convention which is widely known to horror films is in fact the phone ringing. Most horror films have this convention to create tension and to scare the viewer. Typically when they pick up the phone nothing bad immediately happens. This is to fool the audience into thinking the drama will happen instantly.
Next we see the TV which creates a bad and dark feeling about the film. It is used to predict the future of the film and to scare and tell the reader of future events which will occur.

9) Target audience: 
The target audience is very clearly aimed at 15+ year olds. Disturbing scenes of the video may scare or play on a younger child's mind. Many scenes are deemed inappropriate for a younger audience. Scenes which will scare them are evident.

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