‘The woman in Black’ ~ 2012
The Woman in Black, 2012, is a horror film that is set in an old woman’s home. The trailer itself shows the audience how it is classed as a horror through the use of the four technical codes.
The first technical code that I am going to consider is Mise–en-scene. We start off by seeing the children’s toys. This connotes that children are going to play a part in the story. We can also see that the toys are not in good condition. This gives the scene more of an edge to it and it makes the audience feel on edge themselves. One of these toys is a clown… which many children are afraid of. This could be a taste of what is to come. The gothic interior of the house connotes that it’s old. We also can’t see what is at the end of the corridor. This allows the feeling of the unknown to take over.
The little girls in the attic are wearing the typical norm for that era, dresses with bows in their hair. This connotes that whatever is going to happen can happen to anyone. When the same three girls are about to jump out the window we can see that one of them stands on the doll on the floor. This sort of suggests that they are losing their innocence. It’s connoting that this against the norm thing for little girls to do.
When we see the shot of the town we can see that it looks like any normal town, no one would know what kind of secret it was hiding. We also can see that the characters have had to travel to the house by horse and carriage. This not only tells us that it is set in the past, so they are retelling a story, but also gives the feel of isolation, that you had to travel to reach this house. Meaning that it is out of the way of the town itself.
When we see his face through the window we can see that it is raining outside. This is the typical weather that we expect to see in a horror film, as well as being set in an area situated by a graveyard. At the end we can see the Woman in Black herself appearing behind him. This connotes that it is him whom see is after and that she could be about to get him. The screen goes black straight after which leaves the viewers thinking about what they have seen, and wondering what is going to happen next.
The next technical code that I am going to consider is cinematography. The first shot given is an establishing shot of a child’s bedroom. This connotes immediately that children will play a large part in the entirety of the film. There is then a close up to the dolls face. Here we can see that it’s not in the best of conditions, and can therefore conclude that they haven’t been played with for a long time. Later on we can see that the camera seems to zoom in on the picture to show the little boy coming more into the shot. This suggests that he is going to play an important role in the film itself, and emphasising the importance of children within the film. Close up of the little girl standing on the doll shows how everything is changing, this is just before she jumps out of her attic window. And then the bird’s eye view of the young boy walking up to the house from the graveyard helps to create the suspense as we are now sure that children play a large part of the film itself.
There is a long shot of the corridor shows that they live in a large house. The fact that we can’t see what is at the end of the corridor as the camera is travelling down it creates suspense. A long shot of the horse and carriage coming along the beach shows us that they are isolated. It is as if they have come a long way to get to their final location. The camera then follows the carriage as it gets closer to the house itself. This helps build the suspense as we know that they will have reached their destination soon.
There are many of the main characters point of view shots throughout the trailer. This connotes that he is the most important influence of what is going to happen. That he is in charge of the destiny. There is also a Bird’s eye view hot of him entering the house for the first time. This connotes that whatever is in the house already is much more powerful than him. There is also a close up of him closing the door and standing against it. It is as if he is attempting to keep whatever is inside that room in there. The camera follows him as he is running down the corridor. It gives us the feeling that the audience are the ones that he is running from. This also helps to give the audience a more active role inside the film.
The third technical code that I am going to look at is edits. The trailer itself fades in, which gives off a sense that a story is beginning. It then also fades out at the end of the shot, which allows us to image for ourselves how the movie might end. It gives the audience more of a chance to wonder what exactly is happening.
There are a series of quick cuts that help to build up suspense throughout the trailer. These cuts seem to get quicker as the story itself is being told. Each of these cuts lasting rough fully 2 seconds each. This helps to increase the pace of the story itself that is being told and to allow the audience’s hearts to get going. In-between the cuts, we can see that the screen goes black. This helps to connote the feeling that time is passing and that many things could be going on between each clip that we see.
The final technical code that I am going to discuss is sound. The only dietetic sound that we hear is when the child is telling us the story of the woman in Black herself. The sound of a child telling the story of the film then cuts over the top of all other sound. This gives her a sense of importance. Her voice is pretty much in one tone which connotes that she is not scared of the tale that she is beginning to tell.
There is plenty of non dietetic sound going on however. The first sound that we hear sounds a little bit like wind. It is as if they are trying to set the scene through the use of the weather. It then starts with a high pitched beat from the monkey’s instrument which begins to cut across the sound of the wind, which is soon joined by the other children’s toy’s instruments to make up a small melody.
There is a deep sound that crescendo’s in the background as the story moves on. This creates the suspense of the trailer. The sound of thunder cuts across the music so that people can start to tell that the story is building up just like the weather seems to be doing. Heavy drum beats keep over powering the music when the scene cuts. This connotes that all the parts are important and building up to a climax.
The sounds in the trailer relate to the generic sounds of a horror trailer as they are loud and strong. They also tend to be bold and can be eerie, which adds to the suspense being built up throughout. This helps support what the story is trying to make you feel. This can also be seen throughout the writing in the trailer. The writing in the wall, ‘you could have saved him’, appears to have been written in blood. This connotes that someone must have died, or is going to die in the near future. The title of the film at the end is put onto the window in what looks to be ‘dripping’ writing. It also looks like a black dress in covering part of the writing itself. This connotes that she is always there, and watching. The feeling of blood allows it to stand out and it looks as if it belongs to be there.
‘Basement’ ~ 2010
‘Basement’, 2010, is a horror film that is set in a tunnel underground. The trailer itself shows the audience how it is classed as a horror through the use of the four technical codes.
The first technical code that I am going to discuss is Mise-en-scene. We start of by seeing that it is set in the woods in the daylight. This connotes that there are many places to hide in this location. This is also a safe location as they are out in the open. We can then see that there are ladders leading down the hole in the ground. Connoting that they will be taken away from where it is considered safe, out of the known. Shortly after they enter this tunnel we can see that they become trapped, and the confined places show that there aren’t many places for them to hide. The words, ‘Help’ have appeared to be written in blood on the walls of the tunnels. This now confirms the feelings that we have of the characters being trapped within the walls of the tunnels.
We can see that there are four adult characters. All of which are wearing the typical clothing that you would find people of today wearing. This connotes that they are just normal everyday people. Maybe they are friends. We can see a woman who looks like she has been in there for a while, which connotes that they are trapped in the tunnel for good and that there is no escape.
We can then see that there is a lot of blood being introduced, as one persons leg is cut open and blood appearing on one of the female characters hands. Being that the character is female shows vulnerability.
The names of the actors seem to have been given an inner glow to them, giving them a ghostly feeling. When we see the tunnel in a green light, it connotes that whatever is following them is not normal at all.
The second technical code that I am going to explore is cinematography. The camera pans at the beginning as if to show us where the scene is taking place. It also shows the audience that there is no one around or hiding amongst the trees.
There is a lot of use of the close up throughout the trailer. For example, there is a close up of the hole and the ladders to show what the main focus of the story will be. There is also a close up of the woman’s hand to show that the walls are dirty. This connotes that this tunnel isn’t well kept, as if not many people have been down there. And also a close up is used to emphasis the woman when she appears to be dead. This denotes the sense of fear amongst the audience.
The camera stays still and allows for the characters to run into shot. This connotes that they are running away from something, and almost past us. And also, there is normally a lot of space above the character’s heads, which is a usual technique in films. This could connote that they are small in comparison to whatever is chasing them perhaps.
The third technical code that I am going to explore is edits. There are a series of quick cuts at the start of the trailer. This connotes that there has been a passing of time, as we can later see as they have moved towards their goal. There are also cuts between the different locations of the tunnel and the outside to show how empty it is. This allows it to appear that they are in fact alone in this tunnel. The titles are placed in between the cuts of the clips. This connotes that time is indeed passing quickly.
The camera fades slightly as it comes from the hole back to the characters as if to keep the hole in the picture for just a few moments longer. This seems to be a process that continues to happen throughout the remainder of the trailer. It is as if it is trying to emphasis some of its points.
The camera flashes a light when it fades out to increase the tension within the scene. The camera also turns green as it is running down the corridor, this connotes that something not human is running down there. The camera is also being hand held. This gives the audience the sense that they are running along the corridor with them.
The final technical code I am going to look into is the area of sound, and what that can add to the atmosphere. The first piece of non dietetic sound that we hear comes from the sound of birds. This connotes that it is normal day, as you would expect to hear the birds in the trees.
The music within the trailer started off as a quiet high pitched eerie sound at the beginning of the trailer. But it is low enough that we can here the characters talk above it. The music then crescendos as the scene moves along… building up the tension. A heavy drop beat, sort of represents what you would hope their heart beats sound like… fast and heavy.
Through the use of dietetic sound, we can gather a lot more about the scene that they are attempting to set. We can hear the bang when the door closes above them. This creates a certainty that they are indeed trapped down there. But we can also gather a lot about how they are feeling from the characters themselves. For example, there is a lot of screaming near the end of the trailer. This connotes just how scared that they have became.
The language that the script writers have decided to use also sets the tone of the situation. “We’ve got to get out of here, and we haven’t got time to debate about it”. This sort of language show’s certainty and that they are scared to be down there. It is as if they have a bad feeling of what is about to come/ happen.
The sounds and writing that has been used throughout the trailer itself are commonly used throughout the use of horror trailers. This is because they are used to create tension. The use of the ghostly and blood like writing shows what we should expect to see within the film itself.
‘Insidious’ ~ 2011
‘Insidious’, 2011, is a horror film that is set in the typical American household. The trailer itself shows the audience how it is classed as a horror through the use of the four technical codes.
The first technical code that I am going to discuss is Mise-en-scene. The very first shot is an ordinary man sitting in a chair facing the camera. This connotes that he has something to do with the main story. Later we see more shots of the character, as we learn that they are a family. The mother is holding her soon close to her... connoting that they are close, and that she is rather protective of him and her children. The house looks like it could belong to anyone, connoting that this could happen to anyone.
It is the young boy whom falls of the ladder which shows that he is vulnerable to whatever is going to happen. We later see him in a coma which confirms our suspicions that something bad is going to happen or has happened to him. This allows the audience to know that this is where all the trouble is going to begin.
We can see that the baby is obviously in despair although there doesn’t seem to be anything else in the room. This allows for tension to be created, the audience is sure that something is going on now. We can also see the rocking horse moving on its own which helps create the tension.
There are many people who we see are ‘haunting’ the household throughout the trailer. This creates the suspicion that there are many people within the haunted household. We get an example at the end of the trailer also when a woman appears to fly towards the camera. This connotes that they are trying to give the impression that she is coming to get you, and therefore creating even more suspense.
The second technical code that I am going to look at is cinematography. At the very beginning we have a close up of the man. This is showing the viewers that he is an ordinary man and that there is nothing unusual about him. The family shots are then mainly long shots, this way we can see them together. There is also an establishing shot to show the house where the drama will be taking place in, to show the average American household.
There are also a number of close up’s in this trailer. The first is placed upon the time piece, this connotes that time is an important factor within the movie itself. We then see a close up of the ladder when it breaks from under the little boy’s foot. This gives us the impression that this fall will have a very large impact on what happens throughout the remainder of the film.
The suspension continues when we see the man who is haunting the household behind the father of the household. As it is an over the shoulder shot, we get the feeling that they don’t exactly know what it is, and that it is not showing itself clearly to its family just yet.
The third area that I am going to explore is edits. At the start the scene fades out and then into the time keeper. This connotes that time is beginning to run out. This again is a technique which seems to continue throughout the trailer itself. The camera then moves to focus back onto the man sitting on the chair. This connotes that he is very important throughout this film.
There is yet again a series of quick cuts present to show how time is passing by throughout the life of the family. This also allows us to, however, see that they have went through their lives as a normal family, living normal lives. And by showing the audience this it connotes that it’s all about to change.
The camera seems to pan into focus on what is the key item in the scene... for example the baby monitor. This denoted that they are trying to bring those particular objects into focus to the audience.
When it moves on to when it starts to show the information, they cut very quickly... keeping with the pace. This means that they are attempting to show us all the relevant information within the speed that the story itself is unfolding.
The final technical code that I am going to explore is sound. The continuous tone of the time piece can be heard throughout the entirety of the trailer. It is as if it is reminding the audience that time is always passing by. It is playing as a constant reminder of what is important throughout the trailer itself. There are loud beats when we see the titles coming up. Making the audience jump perhaps, and allowing for their heart beats to increase.
We can also hear the sound of the rocking horse moving and the doors slamming in the background. This allows for everything to be put into context as we can see where the sounds are coming from. It also seems to increase the suspense throughout the trailer.
‘There’s someone in there with him’, this is also the typical language that you would expect to see in a horror film. It helps to raise suspicion of what is really happening out there, and we can also see what is happening... therefore our hearts start to beat faster once more.
The writing in this trailer, for example, when it says, ‘from the making of...’ is in white and bold writing which means it tends to stand out. Therefore it keeps within the generic norm for a horror trailer along with the sounds/ music that have been shown within the trailer itself, as they both seem to fasten the viewer’s heartbeats, and create the tension/ suspense.